The Perfection of Style: Yves Saint Laurent at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

Last month, I was able to sneak over to the Yves Saint Laurent exhibit at the VMFA a few days before it closed. This exhibit is now on its way back to Paris, but it certainly warrants its own blog post! I shared a few photos on IG and a ton on Instagram Stories, but in case you missed those during their 24 hour life span, I've rounded up my favorites here so you can get a glimpse of the exhibit. 

When I say this exhibit was truly breathtaking, I mean it. I was lucky to attend with Rosana of DC Style Factory because I knew I needed to see it with someone who would appreciate the fashion as art - not just a fad of a new exhibit and being able to go beyond what most people know when they think of Yves Saints Laurent (and fashion). 

YSL VMFA chic stripes

So let's go in shall we? The exhibit opened with photographs of Yves as a child. One of his first forays into fashion was by making paper dolls. As with most 'creative geniuses' he was bullied as a child, but was able to leverage that into his future career - one of his characteristics that was noted was that he never gave up - he always persevered in the direction he felt called to go. After our little intro, we found ourselves in a long hallway with an entire wall of runway notes complete with sketches, model names, and fabric swatches from 1962 - 2000s on one side and the living incarnations of some of those sketches on the left. Rosana and I spent nearly an hour in this one room alone taking in the fashions as they changed throughout the years. It was interesting to see how silhouettes evolved in correspondence with what was going on in the world and how many of these styles have gone out and come back and are super relevant today in what we are seeing on the runways and in "fast fashion."

40+ Years of Fashion

These sketches still just are so amazing to look at. You can see why we spent an hour here right? Some were downright hilarious (in terms of today's fashion), but others were right on point and I could easily see them on women today. This method is still used today in planning out runway shows, although updated to 21st Century tech standards! 

yves saint laurent fashion sketches
yves saint laurent cocktail fashion sketches
fashion sketches ysl
yves saint laurent vmfa sketches
ysl runway sketches
ysl runway fashion sketch

The Clothes

The range of styles was perhaps the most stunning for me to see - there was everything from pea coats, to evening gowns, to pants suits, to day dresses, to (what could be considered politically incorrect) takes on Russian and Asian cultures. 

This and the next dress were perhaps one of the most Instagram-ed dresses of them all - and for good reason. Give me all the drama!

This and the next dress were perhaps one of the most Instagram-ed dresses of them all - and for good reason. Give me all the drama!

ysl pink bow dress
ysl models
ysl love me forever dress

A Modular Wardrobe

Another instance where fashion responded to (or helped drive) a changing culture of how one got dressed. I loved this portion because it is very much represents my approach with my own clients.

ysl modular wardrobe

Rise of Menswear

YSL's 'claim to fame' if you will, is his pioneering of menswear for womenswear - the pant suit came alive under his pen and helped bring about the style of dress we have today.

YSL menswear
yves saint laurent menswear

The Grand Finale

The final stretch of the room was stunning - collections were gathered in color groups and there was a giant display of the most fabulous designer costume jewelry you could ever imagine. I certainly wish I had gone earlier so that I could have gone a few times to take it all in. I certainly left inspired and awe of just how relevant clothing was, and is.

yves saint laurent purple
yves saint laurent red
yves saint laurent yellow cape