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A Trip to the YSL Retrospective in the Land of Cowboy Culture

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We've always envied those who can breeze away and take a little summer vacay while the rest of us sit at our desks, awaiting that fancy post card. Our friend Samm Mackin of Laundry Magazine did just that this past weekend and here in our inbox this morning was his post card from The Mile High City where he explored the YSL Retrospective at the Denver Art Museum...

[Photo: Artinfo]

The Yves Saint Laurent retrospective draws to a close at the Denver Art Museum just as Heidi Slimane takes the fashion house in a new era. It was interesting to look through the life work of Saint Laurent himself and guess at which pieces of inspiration Slimane will pull from the archives. It is especially of interest because Slimane has declared that he hopes to bring the house of Saint Laurent back to its heydays when Mr. Saint Laurent helmed the fashion label. I was at the museum on the closing day of the exhibition to walk through the catalog of over 40 years of Mr. Saint Laurent’s work and gage what’s next for the fashion label by looking back on the past.

If anything the show at the Denver Art Museum has placed the name Yves Saint Laurent more prominently into the public conscience. Although Denver is not one of the fashion capitals of the world the response to the YSL exhibition has been overwhelming. Tickets to the closing day of the show were completely sold out! Thankfully I had the foresight to pre-order tickets online, since my attempt to view the collection a few days prior was impeded by the fact that by 3 PM the ticketed time slots were full until 8 PM that evening. Upon walking through the exhibit the comments of the viewers revealed that even those who were not fashion fanatics were extremely delighted by the genius of Saint Laurent. A mother and daughter duo were overheard admiring a sheer black lace evening gown while wondering at it’s wearability without a lining. Even one of the security guards got in on the action telling visitors what he had learned about what looked like a spanish widow’s gown but was actually a couture wedding dress.

[Photo: Desert News]

From Saint Laurent’s work at Dior to his “Dialogue With Art” and “Gender Revolution” all of the pieces were broken down into easily digestible sections. My viewing companion noted that the audio guides, which were provided to everyone, really made the exhibition more enjoyable by giving added information on select pieces. Close up YSL’s work is absolutely stunning and each piece possessed an innate sensuality that was apparent even on the mannequins. It was also incredible to see close up the intricate Lesage embroidery on many of the couture pieces. One of the most spectacular displays was a pair of jackets inspired by Van Gogh paintings in two clear glass cases. Painstaking care was taken to capture not only the colors of Van Gogh but also the dimensionality of his brushstrokes. However most spectacular was the finale of the show. This included a display of Saint Laurent’s most stunning evening gowns clustered together like a flock of rare birds and a full wall of the various incarnations of his most famous creation: the Le Smoking Tuxedo. Shown on shiny black mannequins against a black wall the Le Smoking Tuxedos the display was unexpectedly dynamic for being so monochromatic. Showing the Le Smoking ensembles in a black on black display allowed the different textures of black to come forth.

The spectacle of the exhibition combined with the wealth of easily understandable information definitely made the show easily enjoyable for even those not interested in fashion. Bringing the name of Yves Saint Laurent into the forefront of the public’s consciousness this exhibition has set Heidi Slimane up with the perfect time to reinvent and expand the fashion brand. Now that haute couture has infiltrated cowboy country the possibilities are endless!
· The Yves Saint Laurent Retrospective is Bringin' the Awesome to... Denver, Colorado [Racked]
· Yves Saint Laurent [Official Site]
· Denver Art Museum [Official Site]