YSL: The Memory Lives On Featured

Paris celebrates Yves Saint Laurent’s illustrious career with two new museums in Paris and Marrakech.

by Rooksana Hossenally


The biggest news for the French capital since the opening of the Louis Vuitton Foundation in 2014, Paris’s brand new Yves Saint Laurent Museum is set to open its doors in October 2017, along with a second museum in Marrakech, a city close to the industrious French couture designer and his life partner Pierre Bergé’s hearts.

Yves Saint Laurent Pierre Berge et Yves Saint Laurent

Yves Saint Laurent (1936-2008) was primarily known for revolutionising women’s wardrobes with garments like the first women’s tuxedo in 1966. By referring to male codes of dress, he gave women confidence, boldness, and the symbols of power while still enhancing their femininity.

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Yves Saint Laurent.studio

The Algerian-born artist-designer began his career as an assistant, then as head designer, at Christian Dior. With Pierre Bergé, he went on to open his own couture house in 1961. In 1974 the studio moved to its current location at 5 Avenue Marceau, where Saint-Laurent worked for 30 years before deciding to close the studio in 2002. He passed away six years later.


However, over a decade on, Yves Saint Laurent’s memory remains very much alive through the surviving couture house headed by creative director Anthony Vaccarello, and now with two brand new museums that will showcase the artist’s oeuvre. The Paris museum will be housed inside Yves Saint Laurent's original studio.

Yves Saint Laurent 1 Brown organza coat with pheasant feathers and multicolored rhea feathers

The Marrakech museum will be on Rue Yves Saint Laurent, steps from the magnificent Jardin de Majorelle, an abandoned garden painstakingly restored by Saint Laurent and Bergé in the 1960s when they first discovered the imperial city. “(For us) Marrakech was an exceptional love at first sight,” said Pierre Bergé at a recent press conference.

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Yves Saint Laurent 1. Sketch Autumn Winter 1968 haute couture collection Fondation Pierre Berge Yves Saint Laurent

The museums will showcase the current collections held at the Paris Fondation Pierre Bergé - Yves Saint Laurent including 5,000 haute couture garments, 15,000 accessories and thousands of sketches, photographs and objects illustrating the designer’s creative genius.

Beyond its monographic ambitions, the museum will explore 20th century fashion history and the haute couture traditions that accompanied a way of life that no longer exist, through various temporary exhibitions of Saint Laurent’s work.

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Yves Saint Laurent 5 Garment storage at the Fondation Pierre Bergeu Yves Saint Laurent 4

The Musée Yves Saint Laurent Paris will alternate between retrospective displays and temporary exhibitions. The Paris museum will open with a retrospective for the first twelve months. For conservation purposes, some of the works will be rotated twice yearly, starting in spring 2018. The first temporary thematic exhibition will begin in October 2018 and will be entitled L’Asie rêvée d’Yves Saint Laurent (Yves Saint Laurent’s Imaginary Asia) and will showcase Saint Laurent’s designs alongside works borrowed from museums and private collectors.

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