Yves Saint Laurent: Behind the scenes of haute couture in Lyon
In November 2019, the Musée des Tissus in Lyon has been celebrating one of the greatest fashion designers of the 20th century: Yves Saint Laurent. This unique exhibition, heralding the rebirth of the Musée des Tissus on the initiative of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Region and local textile manufacturers, is organised in collaboration with the Musée Yves Saint Laurent Paris.
From 1962 to 2002
Yves Saint Laurent à son bureau, studio du 5 avenue Marceau, Paris, 1986.
Photographe inconnu. © Droits réservés
Photographe inconnu. © Droits réservés
Yves Saint Laurent, Planche de collection. Collection haute couture printemps-été 2002. © Yves Saint Laurent
Yves Saint Laurent, Ensemble porté par Ann-Fiona Scollay. Collection haute couture printemps-été 1990. Polaroïd du personnel de la maison. © Yves Saint Laurent © Droits réservés
Focusing on the period from 1962 to 2002, Yves Saint Laurent – Behind the scenes of haute couture in Lyon - has presented some of the couturier’s lesser known creations, several of which have never been shown before outside the catwalk. In this original exhibition, the whispering of muslin, the shimmering of patterned fabrics, the softness of velvet all come to life to illustrate forty years of close, dedicated collaboration at the service of creation. Accessorised mannequins, fabric samples, original sketches, photographs and previously unseen archival documents alongside filmed interviews of Yves Saint Laurent’s collaborators and textile manufacturers... Through various medias, the exhibition sets out to chart the couturier’s creative process in an new way.
The exhibition trail charts Yves Saint Laurent’s creative process and puts the spotlight on eight textile companies from Lyon
Yves Saint Laurent, Paper doll Vera vêtue d'une robe de jour. 1953-1955. © Fondation Pierre Bergé - Yves Saint Laurent, Paris
Yves Saint Laurent, Ensemble de soir (détail). Collection haute couture printemps-été 1990. Photographie de Sophie Carre, © Yves Saint Laurent
Yves Saint Laurent, Robe de cocktail (détail), Collection haute couture automne-hiver 1969. Photographie de Sophie Carre, © Yves Saint Laurent
Yves Saint Laurent, Fiche du studio dite "fiche de Bible" de la robe de mariée dite "Shakespeare". Collection haute couture automne-hiver 1980. © Yves Saint Laurent
Yves Saint Laurent, Robe dite "Cléopâtre" (détail), Collection haute couture printemps-été 1990. Photographie de Sophie Carre, © Yves Saint Laurent
A muslin dress and a three-quarter-length coat invited visitors to delve into and grasp the different stages of the design of a haute couture garment. These creations were accompanied by original sketches and various work documents such as purchase orders, historical advertisements and photographs of fashion shows. Through twenty-five silhouettes coming from the Musée Yves Saint Laurent Paris collection, the exhibition put the spotlight on eight local textile companies with which Yves Saint Laurent collaborated for forty years: Bianchini-Férier, Bouton Renaud, Brochier, Hurel and Sfate & Combier for silk, as well as converters and intermediaries Bucol, Abraham and Beaux-Valette which had the fabrics manufactured between Rhône and Saône.
Yves Saint Laurent, Robe de mariée dite « Shakespeare ». Collection haute couture automne-hiver 1980. © François-Marie Banier
The visit continued with the extraordinary wedding dress from the Fall/Winter 1980 collection in which Yves Saint Laurent paid tribute to the poets he admired and who inspired him. The jewel-encrusted “Shakespeare” dress was designed in collaboration with five textile companies from Lyon: Abraham, Bianchini-Férier, Bucol, Hurel and Mérieux. This section shows the sheer amount of work required by this unique piece of dressmaking.
Yves Saint Laurent, Ensemble de soir (détail), Collection haute couture automne-hiver 2000. © Sophie Carre, © Yves Saint Laurent
The exhibition ended with an immersive experience in the designer’s studio. Visitors had the opportunity to discover fabrics through the robracks, colour charts and fabric sample books which sparked the couturier’s imagination and creativity. In this evocation of his studio, particular emphasis is put on the technical side of garment design, teaching visitors, for instance, to distinguish between chiffon and taffeta.
About the musée des Tissus
Musée des Tissus - Lyon - France
As home to the most important textile collection in the world, comprising two million pieces and spanning 4,500 years of production, the Musée des Tissus has reinvented itself as a place of inspiration and reflection celebrating the textile industry through fashion, design and digital technology.
By Luxe Magazine