Sunday, 12 July 2015

YSL: Style is Eternal: A review and photographs of an amazingcollection...

I am constantly excited by fashion.  I open the pages of Vogue every month in anticipation of what is to come in its ever-changing world.  Sometimes however, in order to look forward we must learn to look back at the work of some of the amazing designers that have lived, worked and existed in order for us to wear what we choose today.  Today was one of those days where looking back was a real honour, as I was kindly invited along to the Bowes Museum to review 'YSL: Style is Eternal', the UK's first retrospective of Yves Saint Laurent's work.

After yesterday's sell-out opening day, I arrived early for the first viewing with my best friend in tow eager to see and photograph the work that I have read so much about.  It's so exciting to have such an important collection come to the North of England from such an influential designer (read my last blog post here about the links between YSL and the Bowes Museum).

On entering the first room of the exhibition, I was blown away by the use of lighting as a back drop to YSL's original sketches and quotes from the man himself; it really helps to set the scene for what is to come as you travel through the rooms.  The sketches on show throughout were one of my favourite parts of the exhibit.  I sat and watched part of the documentary in Room 2, which showed Yves drawing a sketch and explaining that he never planned what he drew, it just flowed from the pen.  The sketches around all three of the rooms are exceptional; to witness him drawing like that, allows the viewer to enter into the creative mind of the designer and his exceptional talent.

 Room 1 is dark, but the sketches hang elegantly around the room..

 Sketches from throughout the rooms...
 Sketches of 'Le Smoking'

Another point of interest were the paper dolls that Saint Laurent used to create collections when he was in his teens (he created models from the pages of his Mother's Vogue magazines then made clothes from sketches to dress them).  This reminded me of the dressing up dolls from my childhood and it was amazing to see his collection so beautifully presented.

From the exhibition catalogue

There were some amazing pieces in all of the rooms but my favourite area was Room 3.  I particularly loved the colours and the arrangement of the Pop Art dresses.  This area is awash with colour and is such a great contrast from YSL's Masculine/Feminine work.

 The famous Mondrian dress...

 This piece is my favourite of all-from SS '88, in homage to George Braque.  I love the Lesage embroidery and the amazing and intricate detailing.

It was also an honour to see YSL's work from his collections at Dior, including THAT dress, the beautifully restored 'Zepherine' from AW '58.


Natalie's favourite piece was this beautiful asymmetric evening gown from SS '86

With every exhibition I go to I always become a little bit snap happy so to speak, so in closing I thought it would be nice to share with you the pieces that really stood out because of their detail alone.  Sometimes in fashion it's the finishing touches that really make a difference after all.

 Embroidered evening jacket in homage to Vincent Van Gogh...
 Embroidered evening jacket
 Theatre costume's from Room 3.  I loved the pink ostrich feathers to the left!
 The devil is in the detail..

 Wedding dress, homage to William Shakespeare AW '80 Haute Couture
Evening gown, 2001

The collection spanning just over five decades proves that throughout Saint Laurent's career, he never lost his relevance.  Whether dressing woman elegantly in gowns or as powerhouses in tailored suits, he managed to preserve their femininity whilst remaining true to the female form.  Saint Laurent understood women and because of this kept on creating amazing pieces that they wanted to wear.  He was living proof that style never goes out of fashion.

YSL: Style is Eternal is open at the Bowes Museum until October 25th, 2015.  You can buy tickets here.  The exhibition is truly amazing, I urge you all to visit!  I was invited to review the collection and therefore granted complimentary admission however all opinions are my own, and I'll definitely be visiting again before it closes!  

I'd love to hear what you think of the collection too!


PS-make sure you visit the gift shop too for some amazing YSL memorabilia, I can't wait to browse the exhibition catalogue!

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