After stops in Montréal and San Francisco, the retrospective exhibition of one of the most important designers in fashion history has arrived at the Petit Palais in Paris -- a wonderful location for a wonderful exhibit! Rooms filled with gorgeous, ground-breaking ensembles follow Yves Saint Laurent's phases, from his time at the house of Christian Dior until his final collection in 2002, enchanting the viewers with luxurious furs, laces, chiffon, beading, and sequins, virtually all of which are exquisitely timeless. The exhibit pays due homage to a man who truly innovated fashion, giving the world the jumpsuit, transparent dressing, and of course "le smoking". The exhibit shows how even some of the hottest trends of the moment, for example safarienne and camouflage, were imagined by St Laurent in the 1960's. An emphasis is also placed on the designers themed collections, which range from African beading and ankle accessories to long draped Russian looks. Toward the end, the retrospective takes on a sombre tone, an imperative nod to the great loss of the fashion world that was the passing of Yves St Laurent.
The exhibit also revisits the question of the future of Haute Couture. As geniuses such as St Laurent retire, and celebrities and society women ever distance themselves from superfluous and luxuriously high fashion, one must ask: are the days of Haute Couture gone? Will this centuries-old art form continue in coming years? Who will design it and who will wear it?
Yves Saint Laurent Haute Couture Spring 2002, Photos by Style.com