Friday, May 25, 2012

Yves St. Laurent at DAM

While visiting the Real World, it’s important to make the most of museums and such.  Mother and I did that as we visited the amazing Yves St. Laurent retrospective at the Denver Art Museum.  Curator Florence Muller and exhibition designer Nathalie Criniere did an incomparable job of illuminating the iconic designer’s genius through well-narrated audio guides and interpretive notation about the many displays of his exquisite fashion.
Photo used with permission by
Especially interesting were the reproduction of St. Laurent’s studio and the display of his fabric samples arrayed floor to ceiling along both sides of a twenty foot long hallway in rainbow color order.  I also loved the stunning ball gown collection and the portion of the exhibit given to fashion inspired by artists such as Matisse, Picasso, Van Gogh and Mondrian. 
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Most impressive to us was the breadth and depth of St. Laurent’s creativity, as exemplified by the two Tuxedo Walls.  Designing an innovative tuxedo for his collection as he did each year demonstrates the potential of limitation to spur the creative process. 
Pausing in front of the collection of his early work which brought men’s ware to women’s fashion for the first time, we were struck by how those elegant tailored looks influenced my mother’s wardrobe all through her professional career as an educator.
Photo used with permission by Vintage Style Files

I think the fact that St. Laurent was as committed to haute couture as he was to ready-to-wear is part of what gave his work the power to mark the way women dress both then and now. 

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