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Yves Saint Laurent: Dreams of the Orient

Start Date 02 October 2018
End Date 27 January 2019
Venue Musée Yves Saint Laurent
Location Paris, France
Curator Aurélie Samuel
Exhibition display of dressed mannequins

Yves Saint Laurent: Dreams of the Orient

As the first temporary thematic exhibition since the opening of the Musée Yves Saint Laurent Paris in October 2017, “Yves Saint Laurent: Dreams of the Orient” will bring together approximately fifty high fashion designs inspired by India, China and Japan. These pieces from the collection of the Museum will be displayed in dialogue with Asian artworks borrowed from the Musée national des arts asiatiques – Guimet and private collectors.

Press Release 14 June 2018 1 Imaginary travels

“All I need for my imagine to blend into a place, or a landscape is a picture book […] I don’t feel any need to go there. I have already dreamt about it so much …”

Thanks to his “imaginary travels”, Yves Saint Laurent delivered, throughout his collections, a dreamed vision of faraway countries, tainted by knowledge drawn from both his lectures and a direct approach of the works of art. The designer undoubtedly dived deep into the local traditions, explored the folklore, contorted the clichés to suggest a sublimated depiction of traditional clothing.

Among his “exoticisms”, Asia is a recurring theme throughout his work. India, China and Japan Yves Saint Laurent offers both a literary and imaginary vision of Asia. All along his career, he has looked at Indian, Chinese and Japanese traditional clothing, to bring to life high fashion creations. Since his first collections, he has reinterpreted the sumptuous cloaks from Indian sovereigns. Then, Imperial China inspired the Autumn-Winter 1977 Collection, for which he gave a theatrical and transformed image of the country.

This same year, the creator drew attention to his Asian influences through a new fragrance. The “sulphurous” Opium sparked a controversy, which awarded it a worldly success. Fascinated by Japan and especially the Kabuki theatre, he will later revisit the kimono. “Asia has long exerted a fascination on European artists.

In his collections, Yves Saint Laurent delivers a personal vision of it, built on a thorough knowledge of its story, its culture and its art” Every year the exhibition program of the Musée Yves Saint Laurent Paris is punctuated by a temporary thematic exhibition from October to January, then by a return to a retrospective program from February to September. 

Image courtesy of Musée Yves Saint Laurent.