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Yesterday my husband and I finally made it to the Seattle Art Museum to see its new exhibit “Yves Saint Laurent: The Perfection of Style.” Although this exhibit was not as insanely theatrical and intense as the “Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty” exhibit of a few years ago at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan, I enjoyed it very much: it showed an artist’s (some of his designs can be easily categorized as art that exposes people’s conventional or received ideas as just conventions) progress from a shy boy who enjoyed making paper dolls to a person who showed egalitarian sensibilities in the areas of gender, class and race: Saint Laurent incorporated men’s functional and active clothes into women’s fashion by presenting pants suits in his haute-couture collections (possibly Hillary Clinton would not be wearing pants suits today without him); like Henry Ford, Saint Laurent created a Model T for the fashion industry by founding the Saint Laurent Rive Gauche ready-to-wear brand; and he was, according to SAM curator, one of the first fashion designers that hired black models for his haute-couture fashion shows. In addition, the clothes designed by Saint Laurent were not only beautiful but often humorous, playful, and eminently wearable.

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