YSL Museum Marrakesh – go on an exclusive tour with Claudia Peifer to explore this world-famous fashion temple
Born in Algeria in 1936, Yves Saint Laurent arrived in Marrakesh in 1966, fell in love with the place and would go there in June and December every year to design his Haute Couture collections. Morocco had a major influence on his life and his career in fashion design, and this museum celebrates his life in return. Designed by Studio KO, the architects became intrigued by YSL’s duality between curves and straight lines, as well as between his approach to loose and precisely cut lines in the fabric. This influenced their overall idea of creating structure through patterns of using brick and so the ode to YSL in architectural terms was born.
YVES SAINT LAURENT – A FASHION DESIGNER AND ICON
Born in 1936 in Algeria, Yves Saint Laurent, went to the Chambre Syndical de al Haute Couture in Paris at only 17 years old. There, they quickly noticed his incredible talent and soon the editor of French Vogue, Michel De Brunhoff, introduced the young Yves to one of the giants in the fashion world at the time: Christian Dior. Dior fascinated him, and Yves said: ‘He taught me the basis of my art. Whatever was to happen next, I never forgot the years I spent at his side.’
Saint Laurent was unique in the sense that he was the only designer of his generation to actually systematically categorise his work! He founded his own fashion house in 1962. Having been described as one of the foremost, leading designers of his generation, YSL managed to spur on the rise of Haute Couture in the 1960s, whilst making ready-to-wear or prêt-a-porter socially acceptable, setting trends that would influence the fashion industry and fashion designers for years to come.
The Smoking Tuxedo, or Le Smoking, the Pea coat and his famous Mondrian dress were among those ground-breaking designs for womenswear, paving the way for many other designers to follow the lead androgynous looks on women, but also on mini dresses and mini skirts. The International Wool Secretariat provided a platform for young Yves to shine, winning competitions, beating other entries, like those of a certain Karl Lagerfeld, to the top spot.
After a stint in the army, he and his industrialist partner Pierre Bergé, founded the eponymous Yves Saint Laurent Label, and never looked back. And it is the Fondation Pierre Bergé, which made available the safeguarded heritage of YSL in the form of sketches, atelier work and specifications sheets, canvasses, original couture and ready-to-wear garments, jewellery and accessories, collection storyboards, photographs, videos and so much more to give us insight into the mind of YSL.
Saint Laurent died of brain cancer in 2008 at his residence in Paris. His ashes were spread across his Majorelle Garden at his home in Marrakesh, a botanical garden he visited often with Bergé for inspiration and refuge, adjacent to which the YSL Museum has been erected.
THE YSL MUSEUM MARRAKECH
With over 800.000 visitors a year, the YSL Museum in Marrakech is a valuable addition to the Musée Yves Saint Laurent Paris! Opening in October 2017, it celebrates the work of Yves Saint Laurent and his enormous talent over 400m2 of exhibition space, included in a 4000m2 floor plan. This fashion temple is more than just a museum – it’s a state-of-the-art show and storage space, fit for the 20th century. Opening exactly 15 years after the last runway show and the closing of the world-famous brand that YSL has become, the ultra-modern building, featuring traditional brickwork patterns, was designed by Studio Ko.
Apart from the permanent YSL exhibition hall, the museum also shows temporary exhibitions as a cultural and artistic hub for fashion related subjects, contemporary art & design, anthropology and botany.
The part of the museum that is dedicated to the preventive and restorative conservation of thousands of garments is hugely impressive too. With this particular department, the museum aims to become a leading player in conserving extraordinary pieces and items under optimal conditions.
Having taken so much inspiration from Marrakesh for his collections and colour pallets, it is only fitting that Marrakesh gets the recognition it deserves with this museum. Join Claudia Peifer on her tour to gain insight into the talent pool of YSL. The main exhibition does change and rotate pieces from its gigantic arsenal of individual items, so do go and visit the museum to see for yourself and learn first-hand about the ground-breaking talent that was Yves Saint Laurent.
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