Now Reading
Yves Saint Laurent at de Young

Yves Saint Laurent at de Young

Yves Saint Laurent at de Young | SFLUXE 1

Forty-year Retrospective of the Work of Yves Saint Laurent Opens November 1 at the de Young Museum

On November 1, 2008, the de Young opens the exclusive United States presentation of the special exhibition, Yves Saint Laurent.

This exhibit celebrates the life of Yves Saint Laurent and showcases forty years of creativity by the Maison Haute Couture Yves Saint Laurent, whose unique style blends references to the world of art with allusions to pop culture and social revolutions. Structured around four themes, the exhibition develops the revolutionary nature of his body of work that presents a new definition of femininity and a signature that transcends fashion.

The exhibition will include over 120 accessorized outfits belonging to the Foundation Pierre Berge – Yves Saint Laurent as well as Saint Laurent’s drawings, photographs and videos. This exhibition marks the first major retrospective of Saint Laurent’s work in over 25 years.

Irises Ensemble in Tribute to Vincent Van Gogh. Spring-Summer 1988. Sunflowers Ensemble in Tribute to Vincent Van Gogh. Spring-Summer 1988. Foundation Pierre Berge – Yves Saint Laurent. Photo: Alexandre Guirkinger

The exhibition will be divided into four themes:

* Masterful Pencil Strokes – follows his work from sketch to final garment. Within this grouping are garments that emphasize the body through slits or draping as well as a look at his masterful use of silhouette through magnified volumes in garments that defied gravity such as bubble skirts, trapeze dresses and voluminous cloaks.
* The YSL Revolution – explores how Saint Laurent’s signature garments form the foundation of contemporary fashion design from which many of today’s designers take their cues. Groupings include YSL’s outfits inspired by men’s tailoring; the repurposing of functional wear such as safari jackets and pea coats into haute couture, and what became his signature: “le smoking,” a man’s tuxedo adapted for a woman first presented in 1966. Also featured are pieces from his famous 1971 collection in which he reintroduced hyper-sophistication while the rest of the world was focused on the hippie and feminist movements.
* The Palette – known for his palette of candy-colored hues, this section demonstrates how YSL dared to use color in a way that broke the rules of traditional fashion design. Groupings here illustrate his fascination with exotic cultures such as Morocco, Russia, Spain and China as well as his use of clashing color palettes, textures, geometry, embroidery and prints.
* Lyrical Sources – features the most spectacular examples of the art of the haute couture and its many inspirations. Groupings here cite YSL’s references to history; the art world including Mondrian, Fauvism, Pop Art, and artists Picasso and Braque, literary sources such as Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde and Jean Cocteau and finally YSL’s fascination with flora and fauna through his use of prints, animal motifs, feathers, pelts, flowers and sumptuous embroidery.

The exhibition is organized by the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, in collaboration with the Pierre Berge – Yves Saint Laurent Foundation. The exhibition is curated by Florence Muller, fashion historian and professor at the Institut Francais de la Mode a Paris, Dianne Charbonneau, curator of contemporary decorative arts at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and Jill D’Alessandro, associate curator of textiles at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue, Yves Saint Laurent: Style published in both English (Abrams, September, 2008) and French (La Martiniere, 2008). The catalogue is written by Florence Muller with an introduction by Pierre Berge and an essay by Hamish Bowles, European editor-at-large of VOGUE and is available in soft cover ($50.00)

Symposium Yves Saint Laurent, Eternal Style

A symposium exploring the work of Yves Saint Laurent and his many influences entitled Yves Saint Laurent, Eternal Style, will be held at the de Young on Saturday, November 1, 2008 from 1-4 pm in the Koret Auditorium. Speakers will include guest curator and fashion historian, Florence Muller, VOGUE European editor-at-large Hamish Bowles, Farid Chenoune, French fashion historian and author of Yves Saint Laurent: Smoking Forever, and Nancy Troy, professor of Art History at the University of Southern California and author of Couture Culture: A Study in Modern Art and Fashion. Tickets are $30 for the general public (Museum Members, students and members of the Costume Society of America and the Textile Arts Council $20). Runway videos of past YSL collections will be played during intermissions.

Visiting the de Young
The de Young, designed by Herzog & de Meuron and located in Golden Gate Park, showcases American art from the 17th through the 21st centuries, international textile arts and costumes, and art from the Americas, the Pacific, and Africa.

Golden Gate Park
50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive
San Francisco, CA 94118

Exhibition dates: November 1, 2008-April, 2009

Tuesday-Thursday, Saturday and Sunday: 9:30 am-5:15 pm
Friday: 9:30 am-8:45 pm
Closed on Monday

$20 adults
$17 seniors
$16 youths 13-17 and students with a college I.D.
Members and children 12 and under are free.
The first Tuesday of every month is free.
(admission $10 to view the permanent collections only)


Media contacts:
Jill Lynch: 415.750.3553,
Robin Wander: 415.750.2604,

Yves Saint Laurent haute couture, multicolor feather coat, chiffon dress with tiger-print, Fall-Winter 1990.
Foundation Pierre Berge-Yves Saint Laurent

Scroll To Top