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Yves Saint Laurent: Take a Bowes

The Bowes Museum and the Fondation Pierre Bergé - Yves Saint Laurent have collaborated to create Yves Saint Laurent: Style is Eternal, the first exhibition in the UK to present a comprehensive display of the French fashion designer’s work and life. The show highlights the defining elements of his vision, and its influence on fashion and the way we understand womenswear.  It's hard to know which is the greater surprise; that it's Saint Laurent's British exhibition debut, or that the venue is The Bowes, an unlikely, iconic museum, which takes the form of a French chateau in the North of England in the vibrant market town of Barnard Castle. Bowes, opened in 1892, boasts a wealth of artistic treasures, with paintings by Canaletto and Goya among them. 

“Fashion fades, style is eternal”, Yves Saint Laurent said. Articulating this idea, the exhibition presents 50 garments comprising iconic pieces from the Russian Collection, the Mondrian dresses and the Tuxedo. The show also opens up a dialogue with The Bowes Museum's collection, creating a unique sense of narrative around the history of fashion. It inhabits much of the Museum's first floor, including the award-winning Fashion & Textiles Gallery, which has hosted high profile fashion exhibitions such as Vivienne Westwood shoes, Stephen Jones Hats, Henry Poole & Co Tailoring, and most recently Birds of Paradise: Plumes & Feathers in Fashion.

After heading up the Christian Dior fashion house from 1957 to 1960 as Artistic Director, Saint Laurent created his own fashion house with partner Pierre Bergé, and first catwalk show in 1962. For 40 years, Bergé managed the business while Saint Laurent made material magic.

In the first 12 years, Saint Laurent defined a new style and composed the quintessential elements of the modern woman’s wardrobe: the pea jacket and trench-coat in 1962; the first tuxedo in 1966; the safari jacket and the first trouser suit in 1967; the jumpsuit in 1968. A selection of these iconic garments are on show at The Bowes Museum - a wonderful chance for fashion cognoscenti to appreciate  some of the 5,000 garments and over 15,000 accessories, drawings, paper patterns and objects conserved and kept by the Fondation Pierre Bergé - Yves Saint Laurent in its archives at 5 avenue Marceau, Paris. 

By invoking male dress codes, Saint Laurent brought women social empowerment whilst retaining their femininity, a sentiment emphasised by Bergé: “If Chanel gave women their freedom, it was Saint Laurent who empowered them.” Saint Laurent had the ambition to dress all women, not just haute couture clientele. In 1966, he opened the first ready-to-wear boutique to bear a couturier’s name, SAINT LAURENT rive gauche, opening the way to fashion as we know it today. Saint Laurent believed in the 'democratisation' of fashion four decades before Sweden's H&M and Karl Lagerfeld.

 

Passionate about the arts, and a collector himself, Saint Laurent paid homage, as early as 1965, to various artists in his haute couture collections, with the famous Mondrian dresses, as well as his homage to Diaghilev and Picasso in 1979 and tributes to Matisse, Cocteau, Braque and Van Gogh in the 1980s, some of which are displayed at The Bowes Museum.

Style is Eternal highlights the diverse influences of Yves Saint Laurent. The show explores themes ranging from art, lace and transparency, to Masculine - Feminine, as well as featuring the different eras and styles of his creative career. It's a reminder of not just his design genius but also his infinite variety. 

Yves Saint Laurent: Style is Eternal, The Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle, County Durham, England. Until October 25, 2015. 

IMAGE: A drawing for one of Yves Saint Laurent's couture dolls. The Pierre Bergé - Yves Saint Laurent Fondation, 1935-54.

1935
-
1954 per dolls cut out of magazines and glued onto cardboard. Garm Fondationents ade of paper cut
-
puts, ink, watercolour, and
©Fondation Pierre Bergé
Yves Saint Laurent, Paris

Admin

Yves Saint Laurent: Take a Bowes

The Bowes Museum and the Fondation Pierre Bergé - Yves Saint Laurent have collaborated to create Yves Saint Laurent: Style is Eternal, the first exhibition in the UK to present a comprehensive display of the French fashion designer’s work and life. The show highlights the defining elements of his vision, and its influence on fashion and the way we understand womenswear.  It's hard to know which is the greater surprise; that it's Saint Laurent's British exhibition debut, or that the venue is The Bowes, an unlikely, iconic museum, which takes the form of a French chateau in the North of England in the vibrant market town of Barnard Castle. Bowes, opened in 1892, boasts a wealth of artistic treasures, with paintings by Canaletto and Goya among them. 

“Fashion fades, style is eternal”, Yves Saint Laurent said. Articulating this idea, the exhibition presents 50 garments comprising iconic pieces from the Russian Collection, the Mondrian dresses and the Tuxedo. The show also opens up a dialogue with The Bowes Museum's collection, creating a unique sense of narrative around the history of fashion. It inhabits much of the Museum's first floor, including the award-winning Fashion & Textiles Gallery, which has hosted high profile fashion exhibitions such as Vivienne Westwood shoes, Stephen Jones Hats, Henry Poole & Co Tailoring, and most recently Birds of Paradise: Plumes & Feathers in Fashion.

After heading up the Christian Dior fashion house from 1957 to 1960 as Artistic Director, Saint Laurent created his own fashion house with partner Pierre Bergé, and first catwalk show in 1962. For 40 years, Bergé managed the business while Saint Laurent made material magic.

In the first 12 years, Saint Laurent defined a new style and composed the quintessential elements of the modern woman’s wardrobe: the pea jacket and trench-coat in 1962; the first tuxedo in 1966; the safari jacket and the first trouser suit in 1967; the jumpsuit in 1968. A selection of these iconic garments are on show at The Bowes Museum - a wonderful chance for fashion cognoscenti to appreciate  some of the 5,000 garments and over 15,000 accessories, drawings, paper patterns and objects conserved and kept by the Fondation Pierre Bergé - Yves Saint Laurent in its archives at 5 avenue Marceau, Paris. 

By invoking male dress codes, Saint Laurent brought women social empowerment whilst retaining their femininity, a sentiment emphasised by Bergé: “If Chanel gave women their freedom, it was Saint Laurent who empowered them.” Saint Laurent had the ambition to dress all women, not just haute couture clientele. In 1966, he opened the first ready-to-wear boutique to bear a couturier’s name, SAINT LAURENT rive gauche, opening the way to fashion as we know it today. Saint Laurent believed in the 'democratisation' of fashion four decades before Sweden's H&M and Karl Lagerfeld.

 

Passionate about the arts, and a collector himself, Saint Laurent paid homage, as early as 1965, to various artists in his haute couture collections, with the famous Mondrian dresses, as well as his homage to Diaghilev and Picasso in 1979 and tributes to Matisse, Cocteau, Braque and Van Gogh in the 1980s, some of which are displayed at The Bowes Museum.

Style is Eternal highlights the diverse influences of Yves Saint Laurent. The show explores themes ranging from art, lace and transparency, to Masculine - Feminine, as well as featuring the different eras and styles of his creative career. It's a reminder of not just his design genius but also his infinite variety. 

Yves Saint Laurent: Style is Eternal, The Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle, County Durham, England. Until October 25, 2015. 

IMAGE: A drawing for one of Yves Saint Laurent's couture dolls. The Pierre Bergé - Yves Saint Laurent Fondation, 1935-54.

1935
-
1954 per dolls cut out of magazines and glued onto cardboard. Garm Fondationents ade of paper cut
-
puts, ink, watercolour, and
©Fondation Pierre Bergé
Yves Saint Laurent, Paris

Admin