One evening my flatmate told me about an exhibition at the Fundación Mapfre in Madrid. She told me they show beautiful haute couture dresses from Yves Saint Laurent the designer. I didn’t know too much about Yves Saint Laurent at that time, but I love clothes and especially adore them if they are of good quality. So I went to see the exhibition and came back with a lot of impressions and knowledge I had not expected to get. The exhibition is spread over three floors and shows designs from Yves Saint Laurent’s time at Dior, an incredible collection of ball gowns, creations inspired by different cultures from all over the world, designs on paper and a video of his last fashion show before he retired. In one corner of the exhibition you could have a look at his desk and the wall behind it is filled with pictures including a photograph of Catherine Deneuve, his muse and friend whom he dressed in Belle de Jour. It is worth to go just for the clothes, they are so beautiful, but when you take an audio guide, which is only 3€ (the entrance is free) you can learn so much more.
Like Coco Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent was a revolutionary. He changed the way women dressed and his designs were not always accepted with open arms. Once a famous lady and fan of YSL didn’t get admission to a restaurant while wearing a suit if his design. She had to take off the short pants and enter wearing only the long jacket. Some of his most famous designs are Le Smoking, the mariner coat and the safari jacket.
What impressed me most was that he designed an entire collection of pieces he thought women would need to have in their closets. With this collection they would be able to dress elegant and with style without having to buy new pieces every season. Just by recombining the pieces wisely a new look could be created every time. I don’t wonder anymore why today a YSL vintage in the closet is such an valuable item. YSL introduced fashion to the upper middle class by creating collections besides the haute couture and he was the first to have prêt-a-porter shows. He is also known for using art in his collection like the famous dress featuring Piet Mondrian.
Fundación Mapfre offers a virtual tour on their website and you can watch videos in Spanish about conferences held at the foundation on YSL. For me it was worth the trip, there is no doubt, and for the future I will be looking for YSL vintage 😉
After my visit I talked to my flatmate and we agreed that it was a great experience to see this exhibition. We especially like the fact that so many, nicely dressed older ladies where there walking in pairs past the designs, and maybe remembering the times when the clothes were still hanging in the windows of the boutiques 😉
The exhibition can be seen till 8th of January in the Salas de Recoletos.
Teléfono: 91 581 61 00
From 6th of October to 8th of January 2012
Monday from 14.00 to 20.00h
Tuesday till Saturday from 10.00 to 20.00h
Sunday and holidays from 11.00 to 19.00h