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40 Years of Yves Saint Laurent

In a building with three floors, the whole world has the opportunity to discover the professional life of this fashion genius from 1958 to 2002 – a little more than 40 years of revolution, innovation and creativity.

In 1953, Yves Saint Laurent participated in the "International Wool Secretariat" competition and he won beating two of his closest friends: Spanish designer Fernando Sánchez, who is known for his provocative lingerie collections, and Karl Lagerfeld, the German designer who is currently the Creative Director of three fashion houses: Chanel, Fendi and his own namesake brand.

Immediately after winning this competition dedicated to discover young talented designers, Michel de Brunhoff, who was then editor-in-chief of Vogue France introduced the sketches of Saint Laurent to Christian Dior. Since Brunhoff encouraged and supported young talent, he encouraged Saint Laurent into a career as a designer.

Fascinated by the talent of the young designer, Dior hired him right away. In 1957, a few months before the death of Dior, Saint Laurent, who was only 21 years old, was chosen by Dior himself to replace him at the fashion house.

Saint Laurent designed his first collection for the French Haute Couture house, which saved Dior from bankruptcy. But, the fall collection of the same year was not so successful. At the same time the young designer had the heavy responsibility to draw the wedding dress of Farah Diba for her wedding to Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the Shahbanu of Iran.

For the independence war of Algeria, Saint-Laurent was conscripted to serve in the French army; three weeks after enlisting he was diagnosed with severe depression and stress from hazing and was hospitalized. In the meantime, he was fired from Dior. Upon leaving the hospital, he opened his own fashion house with his partner, Pierre Bergé.

In this great museum dedicated to his career as an independent designer, we find at the entrance his most famous and mythical works that revolutionized fashion, such as the tuxedo suit for women, the Mondrian, and the Saharan.

Upstairs, there is a 15-minute documentary about the life and sources of inspiration of Saint Laurent. On the top floor, we find the wedding pieces. It is here that his famous heart brooch with ruby he drew in 1962 is found. There is an identical replica of his studio with a desk, notes written by hand, bills, and his glasses.

In the basement, there is the backstage of Saint Laurent where we find the testimony of all his former collaborators who speak of his inspirations. For his jewels, Saint Laurent was against the assortment and tone on tone. He liked to combine metal, wood and glass. For his shoes, he was against flat heels because he said that a woman's shoes should have heels, while being comfortable. His biggest revolution was the tuxedo since it gave women the opportunity to wear trousers or suits.

All these great moments in the history of fashion are exposed to this museum inaugurated last September just a few days after the death of Pierre Bergé, the lifetime partner of Saint-Laurent.

Photos by Wendelle Theodore/Polo Lifestyles

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