In 1961, after a short-lived tenure leading Dior, Yves Saint Laurent launched his own haute couture house with businessman Pierre Bergé and staged his first runway show the following year, officially kickstarting the illustrious career of one of the 20th century’s most renowned couturiers. In celebration of the inaugural collection’s 60th anniversary, six major museums across Paris including the Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay, and the Centre Pompidou are co-presenting a tribute to Saint Laurent by juxtaposing some of his most notable garments with the fine art that inspired them.
Among the pieces on display is a cocktail dress from the label’s lauded 1965 Mondrian Collection alongside the Dutch painter’s seminal De Stijl canvases. An ensemble from 1981, meanwhile, recalls Henri Matisse’s lively La Blouse Roumaine (1940). More than 300 of his designs will go on display across the six venues, including an immersive tour of his creative process from concept to creation hosted by the Yves Saint Laurent museum. “I believe the work of a couturier is very much like that of an artist,” Saint Laurent once said. “In fact, I’ve constantly found inspiration in the work of contemporary painters: Picasso, Matisse, Mondrian. I owe my July 1966 collection to American painters like Wesselman, Roy Lichtenstein. All my dresses were lit with landscapes, moons, and sunlight. How could I resist pop art that was the expression of my youth?”