A view from Yves St Laurent’s studio

Order forms for the défilés with fabrics and drawings

What I liked best at Yves Saint Laurent’s new museum on 5 avenue Marceau is the view from his studio. Not that it is particularly beautiful, it’s just a Parisian courtyard with a view of the sky, but to be in the room where this genius of fashion created most of his magical collections, just moved me enormously. For the first time, 450 square meters of the Couture house are open to the public since October. And in Marrakech an Yves Saint Laurent museum is built from scratch by Studio Ko in the Jardins Majorelle…

Silk cardigan embroidered with gold and pearl threads with strass

It was Pierre Bergé‘s wish to open two museums dedicated to his long time companion and sadly he died just three weeks before the opening on October 3. The rooms of the museum are immaculate and intimate, the groups of dresses are beautiful but I had seen so many already in my youth that the emotion was absent. Even with the famous Mondrian dress or the “smoking” ! Until I walked into the designer’s studio…

A desk in his atelier: the atmosphere is so unpretentious and intimate

After meeting Olivier Flaviano, the director of  the foundation which manages the museum, I understood how perfectly and precisely managed it is. “We lend dresses everywhere in the world” he said “and we will be putting up one show every year besides the highlights that are exhibited  in turn and regularly changed.” This year it will be Yves Saint Laurent’s fascination for Asia. What a treat to look forward to!

Olivier Flaviano, director of the Fondation Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint Laurent

No groups larger than ten people are admitted and only six hundred people a day as a rule. Composed mostly with the 5 000 prototypes of the dresses, the collection of the museum is added on regularly with items bought in auction or donated by their owner. Every single couture dress was recorded and sometimes photographed before leaving the house so when one comes for sale, the foundation team immediately know who ordered it.

The desk from which Yves Saint Laurent designed is facing the courtyard

The Foundation wants every visitor to see the show in detail and there are a number of charming young ladies who will answer questions. You can book ahead or just queue in line, which I did for 40 minutes and everyone speaks to each other in a very civilized way. One has to say that the discretion of the premises and the kindness of all staff are impressive. It makes for a refined and chic experience very different from other French brands…

Evening ensemble Spring Summer 1989, cape in gazar embroidered with flowers and dress in silk mousseline

All jewelry and fabrics are displayed and more than visiting a fashion house, you discover a true artist’s hideaway. There is a film shown as an introduction in the first room on the left and many videos explaining how couture works. The decoration signed by Jacques Grange, an old friend of the master, is refined but not obtrusive.

IN Marrakech the Yves Saint Laurent museum was designed by Studio Ko

(Musée Yves Saint Laurent, 5 avenue Marceau. Closed on Mondays and open till 9 pm on Fridays)

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