Just around the corner and up the block from the Palais Galleria is Museé Yves Saint Laurent. In my opinion, Yves Saint Laurent is one of the most talented and prestigious fashion designers of our time. The way he lined a woman’s’ body, not to mention a damn handbag, was impeccable. The YSL aesthetic is boldly defined by its minimalist taste of sophisticated luxury. A simple black shoe with blended black rhinestones can be so delicious. I admire the sharpness of almost every detail produced by this house of couture.
Musée Yves Saint Laurent is located within the notorious French hôtel particulier at 5 avenue Marceau in the 16th district. The architecture of the musée reflected the clean and polished feel of the area that it currently resides in. A hôtel in French is what English would call an “inn”. Particulier simply means personal or private. A hôtel particulier is a grand townhouse. Contrast to an ordinary maison (house) that is built as part of a row, sharing walls with the houses on either side and directly fronting on a street, a hôtel particulier was often free-standing. The building holds a strong Renaissance aesthetic in regard to the tiled concrete exterior and tall, sharp-edged windows. According to the official website of the musée, this location is where YSL spent nearly thirty years designing his collections from 1974 to 2002. For its opening, the museum has chosen to show about fifty of the fashion designers’ models drawings and sketchbooks but also many photographs, accessories and films retracing his exceptional life.
The tour of the museum was extraordinarily exceptional. To learn about his rise to becoming one of the worlds most talented and influential designers was so riveting. YSL was destined for greatness from the young age of three. Following his first-place win in a fashion costume contest, young YSL submitted his drawings to Vogue editor at the time, Michel de Brunhoff. After meeting with YSL, Brunhoff felt that YSL’s drawings greatly resembled that of the infamous Christian Dior. One phone call to Christian and YSL was to become Dior’s protégé and creative assistant. The rest is golden history. Once I learned about how he entered the fashion business, I could not help but to feel just a bit of envy for this man but, the way he dedicated himself and his life to his work was nothing short of admirable. It was a very personal and intimate look into the life and times of YSL. I felt honored to be in the presence of his legacy that has been so elegantly presented to the world.
My visits to both of these locations were very important and defining moments for my time in Paris. It was necessary for me to experience the inspiration that Parisians are so fortunate to have in their own back yard. La mode francais est une trés importante aspect in the spectrum of culture and social life as well as the economy. Being in these two places made me appreciate what these brands have done for not only the fashion world, but the lives of men and women all over the globe.