Denver Art Museum opens Yves Saint Laurent Retrospective exhibition

. March 26, 2012

The Denver Art Museum (DAM) and Fondation Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint Laurent present Yves Saint Laurent: The Retrospective, a complete overview of the designer’s 40 years of creativity on view March 25, 2012, through July 8, 2012.

Yves Saint Laurent, Short cocktail dress, Tribute to Piet Mondrian, Fall Winter 1965. Ecru wool jersey, encrusted with black, red, yellow and blue. © Fondation Pierre Bergé – Yves Saint Laurent, Paris / Photo A. Guirkinger.

The DAM is the only U.S. venue for the exhibition. Combining photographs, drawings, films and other multimedia elements with a selection of 200 haute couture outfits, the exhibition creates an immersive environment for visitors to see firsthand the development of Saint Laurent’s style and the historical foundations of his work. Organized thematically, the multifaceted presentation melds design and art to explore the full arc of his career, from his first days at Dior in 1958 through the splendor of his final runway collection in 2002. Curated by Florence Müller and overseen by Pierre Bergé, Yves Saint Laurent premiered in Paris in 2010 at the Petit Palais, Musée des Beaux-Arts de la Ville de Paris, and will be on view in the Anschutz and Martin and McCormick galleries in DAM’s Hamilton Building.

“We’re thrilled to bring the stunning style and design of Saint Laurent to the United States,” said Christoph Heinrich, Frederick and Jan Mayer Director of the DAM. “His designs revolutionized the fashion world just as the masters he drew inspiration from revolutionized the art world. This exhibition showcases the exquisite designs of an artist.”

During his 40 years of designing, Saint Laurent (1936–2008) transformed the female wardrobe by borrowing the tuxedo, the trouser suit, shorts and the safari jacket from men’s clothing, transferring these symbols of power from one gender to the other. He empowered women with this new form of clothing, turning traditional menswear into haute couture. He represented women’s evolving role in society ahead of any other designer, setting the hit styles of the day.

“This exhibition demonstrates the impact of Saint Laurent’s work on the history of fashion and the present-day relevance of his style,” said exhibition curator Florence Müller. “His creations achieved an ingenious symbiotic relationship between setting style and recognizing popular trends that made them not only wardrobe necessities, but also reflected women’s changing role in society.”

Drawing inspiration from the World War II era (Scandal Collection, 1971), his imaginary travels (Africa, China, India, Japan, Morocco, Spain and Russia) and his dialogue with art (Van Gogh, Matisse, Mondrian, Picasso and Tom Wesselmann, among others), Saint Laurent was forever turning fashion into celebration. He said, “My primary concern has always been respect for my craft, which is not exactly an art, but which depends on an artist for its existence.”

This is a special ticketed exhibition. Tickets include an audio guide. DAM members have the first opportunity to purchase discounted tickets starting January 13, 2012. Tickets go on sale to the general public January 20, 2012. See the programming guide or www.denverartmuseum.org for ticket price details.

Yves Saint Laurent: The Retrospective is organized by the Fondation Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint Laurent in collaboration with the Denver Art Museum. Significant support is provided by Jana and Fred Bartlit, Mike Leprino Family Foundation, Neiman Marcus, Elisabeth and William Armstrong, Fine Arts Foundation, CBS Outdoor, and Grey Goose. Additional funding is provided by the citizens who support the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD) and the generous donors to the Annual Fund Leadership Campaign. Promotional support is provided by 5280 Magazine, CBS4, and The Denver Post.

Yves Saint Laurent, Short cocktail dress, tribute to Piet Mondrian, Fall-Winter 1965. Ecru wool jersey, encrusted with black, red, yellow and blue. © Fondation Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint Laurent, Paris/Photo A. Guirkinger.
The Denver Art Museum is located on 13th Avenue between Broadway and Bannock Streets in downtown Denver. Open Tuesday–Thursday and Saturday– Sunday 10 a.m.–5 p.m., Friday 10 a.m.–8 p.m.; closed Mondays, Thanksgiving and Christmas. A separate ticket is required for Yves Saint Laurent. For information in Spanish, call 720-913-0169. For more information, visit www.denverartmuseum.org or call 720-865-5000.

Category: Exhibition News

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