Yves Saint Laurent exhibit opens in S.F.

November 1, 2008 3:11:32 PM PDT
Yves Saint Laurent is considered the most influential fashion designer in the second half of the 20th century. A retrospective of 40 years of his eternal style opened Saturday at San Francisco's De Young Museum. It is the only U.S. showing of this revolutionary collection.

It is a vibrant and color-filled testament to the timelessness of his work. Yves Saint Laurent changed the way women dressed.

He became the Chief Designer for Dior at age 21 and opened his own house in 1962.

"It was a changing time for the world and Yves Saint Laurent wanted to create a new wardrobe for women. So part of that was to create shocking clothes with transparency," said Jill d'Alessandro, the museum's curator.

Saint Laurent reworked the role of fashion by defying the rules. He was bold, daring, innovative and shocking. Who would imagine in 1966 that a woman would wear a tuxedo?

"One of the real major influences he had was adapting men's wear into women's clothing.

This exhibition of 125 models is the first showing since Saint Laurent died in June.

Pierre Berge was his partner from the start.

"For me fashion is not art. But fashion needs an artist to exist," said Berge referring to his late partner.

Saint Laurent drew his inspiration from artists like Mondrian, from poets and writers, from music, and from world travel.

Berge says Saint Laurent didn't create designs for himself. He created them for women. He was also troubled, shy and unhappy.

"Yves hated fashion absolutely. But he loved style," said Berge. "His own creations were the most important thing in his life."

The exhibition will be in San Francisco until next April.


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