EXHIBITIONS

YVES SAINT LAURENT 1971 THE SCANDAL COLLECTION

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      Fondation Pierre Bergé — Yves Saint Laurent presents an exhibition YVES SAINT LAURENT 1971 THE SCANDAL COLLECTION , it is held from March 19 to July 19, 2015. Curator of this is Olivier Saillard.
The French newspaper France Soir called the spring 1971 collection “Une grande farce!”
“WHAT DO I WANT? TO SHOCK PEOPLE, TO FORCE THEM TO THINK. WHAТ I MAKE IS VERY MUCH CONNECTED TO CONTEMPORARY AMERICAN ART… YOUNG PEOPLE, THEY DON’T HAVE ANY MEMORIES” — YVES SAINT LAURENT told to Vogue France in March 1971.
On January 29, 1971, Yves Saint Laurent presented the collection known as the “Liberation”or “Forties” collection, which was inspired by the fashion of the war years. Short dresses, platform shoes, square shoulders, and exaggerated makeup were the references to occupied Paris that caused a scandal. The collection, which was heavily criticized by the press, gave full sway to the retro trend that quickly ended up conquering the street.
“Eighty designs nonchalantly worn by six models caused a stir on the Rue Spontini. Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé had inaugurated their couture house there in 1961. This was also where all the fashion shows were held. Some 180 international customers, buyers, and journalists wavered in the seats that had been reserved for them. Part of the public did not conceal their aversion and expressed their horror before the spectacle of a collection they deemed hideous. They were primarily disturbed by the couturier’s claims that he was inspired by the elegance of the war years and the occupation.” commented Olivier Saillard. “The press, which saw in him the only legitimate heir to the great tradition of French haute couture, could not forgive him for the square shoulders, knee length skirts, and platform shoes, which were reminders of the years of deprivation and restriction through which most of them had lived. Their articles unanimously condemned the fashion faux pas of a designer “who was nostalgic for this period … and whose excuse was not having known it”. The “Liberation” collection caused fashion to come crashing into contemporary history. It brought down the walls separating haute couture from ready-to-wear and relegated the terms of elegance to the realm of past considerations. The 1971 collection also marked a shift in Yves Saint Laurent’s trajectory. It was the manifesto of a designer who now wanted to be the arbiter of ambiguity. It was a rough draft of the maturity to come. Retrospective in its inspiration, it placed the historical exercise at the heart of the creative process in a new and different setting. Providing the carbon paper for the “retro” fashions that were about to sweep across the second half of the twentieth century, the 1971 collection was the mirror that chased a disappearing world from its frame in order to welcome the reflection of a new generation”.
Short interviews that did Claude Berthod for Elle in March, 1971.
Claude Berthold : “Yves Saint Laurent, what do you think of how your collection was received? It’s a far cry from the usually enthusiastic praise…”
Yves Saint Laurent  : “I think that even the word “scandal” wouldn’t be too strong… I’m sad and flattered. Manet’s Olympia provoked the same kind of reaction: “We’re being mocked…”… “It’s shameful…” People weren’t shocked so much visually as they were morally.”
Claude Berthold: “Why did you choose to shock people with the “retro” look rather than something new?”

    Yves Saint Laurent: “What can be called “new” in clothing? From peplum to stockings, everything has been done and redone a hundred times. Hippie dress was borrowed from the East; shorts are borrowed from stadiums. And yet these are still new contributions to fashion. None of them come from haute couture. Haute couture no longer emits anything but nostalgia and prohibitions. Just like an old lady. I don’t care if my pleated or draped dresses evoke the 1940s for cultivated fashion people. What’s important is that young girls who have never known this fashion want to wear them”.

Photos made by Sophie Carre /Hans Feurer / Eddie Musson

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  1. Bettie

    at 00:59

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