Yves Saint Laurent needs no introduction – his name is known and legendary. The French fashion designer, regarded as one of the greatest names in fashion history started his brilliant career as a creative force behind the grand couture house of Christian Dior. A few years later, with the help of Pierre Bergé, his partner and business manager, Saint Laurent left Dior to strike out successfully on his own.
Founded in 1961, the brand has been considered one of the world’s most prominent fashion houses and known for its modern and iconic pieces, such as its tuxedo jackets for women. Today Saint Laurent Paris markets a broad range of women’s and men’s ready-to-wear products, leather goods, shoes, and jewelry. Along with partner Pierre Bergé, Yves Saint Laurent made sure to turn the brand’s Paris couture house into a museum. See it below.
Having the preoccupation about the huge number of original Saint Laurent dresses and accessories, as well as the sketches for them, that the two men had carefully preserved since their fashion house was founded in 1962, YSL decided to create a foundation that would house and display the work in a way that would keep it alive. The new Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint Laurent Foundation had to be not only well situated but evocative of Saint Laurent’s heyday.
The location for this new foundation would be their elegant couture house on the avenue Marceau, a stone’s throw from the Champs-Élysées. Of course, the interiors had to be transformed — but subtly, to preserve their aura as the last grand couture shop in Paris. To make that change, the pair turned to one of France’s best-known decorators, Jacques Grange.
The famous interior designer explains: “My brief was to preserve the feeling of a famous fashion house while creating a space that could be used for every kind of art or fashion display. So I kept the two main salons, with their gilt statues, huge mirrors and swagged chandeliers, essentially as they were, simply restoring or renewing the sofas and the silk curtains. I made the other space, which is specifically for exhibitions, as minimal and practical as possible.”
As so, a stunning exhibition of Saint Laurent dresses side by side with the paintings — from Mondrian and Matisse to Andy Warhol — was designed. “We want to explore all kinds of creativity,” explains Bergé. “Friends such as Robert Wilson and David Hockney have agreed to shows of their work here, and we have other projects in the pipeline. The foundation is a place where people can come and find something quite unexpected and exciting,” he says. “The adventure we began 40 years ago is not over!”