Last week I visited the exhibition of one of fashions greatest designers Yves Saint Laurent. The exhibition which is currently running at The Bowes Museum is the first ever exhibition in the UK to display such a large collection of his garments telling the story not only of the French designers work but of his life too.
YSL work is displayed in section of significant moments in the designer’s 40 year career. The themes include Haut Couture, Masculine/Feminin, Transparence, Spectaculaire and The Alchemy of Style.
As you walk into the first of three gallery spaces dedicated to Laurent you are greeted with a large screen showing the footage of the designers last ever cat walk show. Standing there surrounded by what appear to be floating illustrations and inspirational quotes in a beautifully lit, grand room you know that what you are witnessing is something very special. In my opinion it is a tantalising introduction to what is a spectacular exhibition.
Room two tells the story of the designer’s life. The room displays an array of evening gowns and ensembles, hats and heavily embellished jackets.
What I particularly love are the sheets of illustrations sketched by Laurent, all of which have fabric swatches attached. Being able to see the development and processes from drawing the patterns, making mock ups and producing samples of embellishment make you appreciate his genius.
Just when you think it can’t get much better, you enter the final room and discover that it actually does. There is a display of Haute Couture, featuring work YSL produced during his time working for Christian Dior.
Moving around the room you are treated to a feast of Laurent’s famous ladies suits, sumptuous floaty transparent gowns and altogether wacky garments in what is titled the Spectacular display.
My favourite pieces in the room however are his Art inspired works consisting of garments inspired by Pop Art as well as the likes of George Braque and Henri Matisse.
This exhibition is a must, if you can get there to see it then I highly recommend you do, you will not be disappointed. In fact I am already planning my second visit!
Please do make sure you book tickets in advance to avoid disappointment. For more information visit http://www.thebowesmuseum.org.uk/