A sweeping retrospective of 40 years of creativity features a stunning selection of 200 haute couture outfits along with numerous photographs, drawings, and films that illustrate the development of Saint Laurent's style and the historical foundations of his work.
curated by Florence Müller
A sweeping retrospective of the designer’s 40 years of creativity, Yves Saint Laurent: The Retrospective features a stunning selection of 200 haute couture garments along with numerous photographs, drawings, and films that illustrate the development of Saint Laurent’s style and the historical foundations of his work. Organized thematically, the presentation melds design and art to explore the full arc of Saint Laurent’s career, from his first days at Dior in 1958 through the splendor of his evening dresses from 2002. The DAM will be the only United States venue for the exhibition.
Yves Saint Laurent’s Life & Designs
The development of the Saint Laurent style and the fundamentals of his oeuvre are presented in a visually rich and dramatic way that walks visitors through his life and designs. They are grouped into these areas:
Birth of a Revolutionary Couturier
The exhibition starts with a display of Saint Laurent’s designs for Dior, including the 1958 “Trapeze” collection. With this collection, Saint Laurent anticipated the freedom movement of the 1960s.
A Gender Revolution
In this section, visitors can see how Saint Laurent created a gender revolution by allowing women to express themselves freely, melding the flair of a man’s suit with the seductiveness of woman’s clothing.
Yves Saint Laurent and Women
Another area displays the clothing of the historic women who wore and supported Saint Laurent, including Betty Catroux, Catherine Deneuve, Loulou de la Falaise, Françoise Giroud, Princess Grace of Monaco, Nan Kempner, Paloma Picasso, Diana Vreeland and H.R.H. Duchess of Windsor.
Creating a Furor
Celebrating the revolutionary styleSaint Laurent gave couture, a section is dedicated to his 1971 Scandal Collection which transported people back to the 1940s and a time of war and occupation. The press denounced but the customers adored this collection.
The Enchantment of the Exotic
In this area, the imaginary world of Saint Laurent is explored—especially a focus on his whimsical travels to China, India and Russia to create his collections using exotic materials, furs and feathers.
Dialogue with Artists and Writers
The art world takes center stage in a section that draws direct lines between the designer and the artists he admired. In 1965, Saint Laurent launched a collection inspired by Piet Mondrian, the early 20th century painter known for his distinctive style oflines and bold color combinations on flat surfaces. Mondrian’s work clearly inspired Saint Laurent in the first of many of the designer’s intersections with the art world.
The Last Ball
The magic of night and fashion is the focus of The Last Ball section, a succession of exquisite evening dresses from the glory days of haute couture.
In this section, visitors are given a close look at 40 years of Saint Laurent creations through a wall of more than 30 tuxedos. The first ever “Le Smoking” (the French term for tuxedo) from 1966 faces a variety of other tuxedos, each representative of a fundamental work by Saint Laurent.
The Colors of Yves Saint Laurent
In this section, guests will move through the collision of colors Saint Laurent famously used in his designs with vibrant examples from his collections and hundreds of fabric samples.
Many programs and events related to the Yves Saint Laurent exhibition are planned. They include:
Members-Only Lecture with Florence Müller, Chief Curator of Yves Saint Laurent: The Retrospective
March 24, 1 pm
The DAM is proud to host a members-only lecture with Yves Saint Laurent: The Retrospective chief curator and fashion historian Florence Müller.
Best Spring Break Ever: Design Days
March 24-April 1
Fashionistas and families are invited to enjoy all sorts of in-style activities March 24-April 1. Create fabrics, dress up in costume, get to work in the Fashion Studio, and more.
Weekend Demonstrations in Fashion Studio
March 25–September 2
Join us in the Fashion Studio as we celebrate Yves Saint Laurent: The Retrospective. On weekends, watch as a fashion designer takes you through the secrets of fashion design.
Untitled #45 (Haute)
March 30, 6 pm
Activities also on the Untitled #45 (Haute) lineup include a fashion show, on-site interior design consultations, hands-on haute couture skills workshop, a theatrical performance by Buntport Theater, local music, munchies and more.
Yves Saint Laurent Pairings
On select Tuesday nights in May, staff from the department of architecture, design and graphics team up with local experts to deliver a one-of-a-kind in-gallery experience. Tickets to these events include entrance to Yves Saint Laurent: The Retrospective, a wonderful opportunity to experience the show in an intimate, after-hours setting. Detail
Black velvet sheath dress, "Paris rose" satin bow, "Paris" haute couture collection, Fall-Winter 1983. Photo Gilles Tapie.
Torero ensemble, haute couture collection, Fall-Winter 1979. Pink gazar cape; gold and pink lamé bolero and knickerbockers; bright pink satin and taffeta blouse. Photo A. Guirkinger.
Short cocktail dress, Tribute to Piet Mondrian, Haute couture collection, Fall-Winter 1965. Ecru wool jersey, encrusted with black, red, yellow and blue. Photo A. Guirkinger ©Fondation Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint Laurent, Paris
Preview: March 24, 9 am, Members-Only
Denver Art Museum
100 W 14th Ave Parkway - Denver
Hours: Monday Closed
Tuesday–Thursday 10 am–5 pm
Friday 10 am–8 pm
Saturday–Sunday 10 am–5 pm