Major YSL exhibit opens in… Denver How Yves Saint Laurent 'would be astonished' by his Colorado-based retrospective
16:33 GMT, 26 March 2012
To the most dedicated followers of fashion, the name Yves Saint Laurent evokes an image of unparalleled style; of women in tuxedos and glamorous ball gowns set against the chic backdrop of Paris.
But now a sampling of the late designer's archive is to be mounted in the unusual setting of Denver, Colorado; a city famous for its altitude and neighbouring Rocky Mountain range that plays host to the skiing elite of Aspen and Vail.
The retrospective, originally on exhibit in Paris in 2010, will occupy the entire second floor of the Denver Art Museum and will feature 200 couture outfits spanning Yves Saint Laurent's career, including the iconic 'Le Smoking' suits and his ultra-feminine dresses.
Homage: 'Yves Saint Laurent: The Retrospective' opened today at the Denver Art Museum in Denver, Colorado. The exhibition originated in Paris 2010 and features 200 outfits spanning the designer's career
Smoke chic: Yves Saint Laurent designed and recreated his iconic Le Smoking suit throughout his career and 40 incarnations will be mounted on a floor to ceiling wall display in homage to the influential outfit
Of the somewhat odd location of the exhibition, director of the museum, Christoph Heinrich told ABC: 'The fabulous thing about this country is you have major events everywhere, all over the country. It's not only everything happening in New York and Los Angeles.'
Curated by Florence Muller, the retrospective opens with a taping of his final Paris show in 2002 alongside six chiffon dresses from the collection and a portrait of the famously shy artist by Irving Penn.
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A sprinkling of four trapeze gowns that he created for his first Dior collection in 1958 marks the beginning of a journey through an impressive career, from his black transparent dresses to Spanish boleros and over the top embellishments.
As well as the collections of haute couture on display, a whole room filled of red carpet looks worn by the likes of Paloma Picasso, Lulu de la Falaise, and Diane Vreeland gives a glimpse into the influence and favour he held with the most fashion forward stars of the last few decades.
Voyager: Yves Saint Laurent did not travel much himself and yet he continued to create collections inspired by countries and continents around the world like Spain, China and in this photo, Africa
One of his muses, French beauty Catherine Deneuve, has an entire room dedicated to her YSL wardrobe, much of which she wore in the movie, Belle du Jour.
Designer Yves Saint Laurent in Paris in 2005 before his death in 2008
The exhibition highlights the most significant pieces from his imaginary-travel-inspired collections from China, Spain and Africa, to the controversial WWII collection that launched a hugely successful ready to wear line of fox furs and turbans.
A floor to ceiling wall display pays homage to 40 incarnations of Le Smoking, the suit that became synonymous with the changing of women's role in society.
And as a powerful contrast to the strong, edgy tailoring, on the opposite side of the room, dozens of his most beautiful dresses adorn a red-carpeted staircase.
Dominique Deroche, Yves Saint Laurent's publicist from 1966 to 2002 said of the choice to mount the exhibition in Denver: 'He would be astonished. But he would be very proud.'
The late designer's life and business partner, Pierre Berge, concurred: 'He loved to show his work to everybody and everywhere. I think in Denver probably many, many people like art – and why not fashion'
Yves Saint Laurent: The Retrospective opens March 25-July 8 at Denver Art Museum