I thought that there was no better post to begin with than one focused on an amalgamation of all the things that I love, explored through the one year anniversary of the opening of the new Yves Saint Laurent museums.
For a long time people have disputed over and blurred the lines between, what classifies as art. Many people think that unless it’s an oil painting by one of the Renaissance greats such as Michelangelo or Raphael for example, then ‘it doesn’t count.’ It’s somehow seen as a lesser creative talent and therefore doesn’t deserve the reverence that is awarded to the 500 year old masterpieces we have learnt to praise. I like to think that comparing some people’s rejection of fashion as an art and the idea that it doesn’t deserve to be recognised as one, is similar to what the French impressionists suffered during the period of the 17th Century. Their artworks were heavily criticised, banned from shows and ridiculed as ‘A bunch of lunatics and a woman.’ Yet, another century on and Impressionist artwork is some of the most recognised and highly regarded in human history. I think that this is what we are now experiencing with fashion.
Like the critics of the impressionists, many people believe that fashion should be clearly separated from the word ‘art.’ I disagree with this idea and evidently so do many others including those of Luxury brands. Think of Balenciaga at the V&A, Mademoiselle Coco Chanel at the Saatchi Gallery – both are brilliant fashion houses who have both turned to museums, the most sacred and traditional place to display conventionally accepted art and instead displayed their designs, their founders history and their ethos for people to learn from and appreciate. They are therefore equating their pieces with the works of other artists in those museums and are redefining the ever changing definition of art.
Now Yves Saint Laurent is going down this path by having opened two purpose built museums dedicated to displaying the designs and pieces of the great Yves Saint Laurent himself. The opening of these two museums this time last year in Paris and Marrakech allows fans a more comprehensive look at his designs, career and his life in the atelier. The opening in Paris is a renovation of the already pre-existing Foundation Pierre Berge – Yves Saint Laurent. The space was used as Saint Laurent’s atelier and office for more than 30 years and has been completely refurbished in its original style to therefore allow visitors to experience Saint Laurent’s studio and work place as it was while he was there and simultaneously see the 20,000 couture pieces now on display.
The second museum opened in Marrakech, Morocco. When I heard about the location, I was puzzled as to why Marrakech was the chosen site but learned that the location is based upon the legacy of Saint Laurent through a quote by Bergé who explained the decision “When Yves Saint Laurent discovered Marrakech in 1966, he was so moved by the place that he decided to buy a house and regularly go back there. It feels perfectly natural, 50 years later, to build a museum dedicated to his oeuvre, which was so inspired by this country.”
I adore this museum and everything it represents because it contains all kinds of creative arts. It permanently houses many of the designers works, as well as having a dedicated space in which different inspirational artist’s rotate to fill with their own art pieces, there is a library in the building with many books for people to read and all of this is housed within the architectural brilliance of the museum itself. Personally, I think it is the architecture of the building that really completes this experience and is what affirms the idea that Fashion deserves to be firmly rooted within the creative arts as it allows for the combination of many different types of creativity to make something truly unforgettable.
This new assimilation of fashion designs within museums is rising in popularity and confirming to people who are of a similar mind to myself that the clothing we see walking down catwalks and splashed across the pages of magazines does in fact deserve to be described as a true ‘art’ and accompany everything that comes with the meaning of the word. To me, this museum in Marrakech is not just blurring the line between what is art and what isn’t, instead it’s completely taking away this boundary by combining traditional artworks on canvas, modern architectural excellence and the designs and pieces of one the most influential style icons of the 20th Century who has inspired generations to come.
Looking at the photos I’d love to know what your favourite part of the museums are and if you’ve visited either one then do tell me about it because i’d love to hear!