The Bowes Museum Is To Present The First Ever Exhibition Of Yves Saint Laurent In The UK

The Bowes Museum Is To Present The First Ever Exhibition Of Yves Saint Laurent In The UK

Yves Saint Laurent: Style is Eternal 
11 July – 25 October 2015

The Bowes Museum and the Fondation Pierre Bergé - Yves Saint Laurent are delighted to announce Yves Saint Laurent: Style is Eternal, the first exhibition in the UK to present a comprehensive display of the French designer’s work and life. The show will highlight the defining elements of his vision, and the significant influence it has had on fashion and the way we understand womenswear. 

“Fashion fades, style is eternal” Yves Saint Laurent once said. Articulating this idea, the exhibition will present fifty garments including some iconic pieces from the Russian Collection, the Mondrian dresses and the Tuxedo, plus 100s of accessories. The show will also open up a dialogue with The Bowes Museum’s collection, creating a unique sense of narrative around the history of fashion. 

After heading up the Christian Dior fashion house from 1957 to 1960 as Creative Director, Yves Saint Laurent created his own fashion house with partner Pierre Bergé, with its first catwalk show in 1962. For 40 years, Pierre Bergé managed the business while Yves Saint Laurent focused entirely on the creative side.

In the first twelve years, the designer defined a new style and composed the quintessential elements of the modern woman’s wardrobe: the pea jacket and trench-coat in 1962; the first tuxedo in 1966; the safari jacket and the first pantsuit in 1967; the jumpsuit in 1968. A selection of these iconic garments will be on show at The Bowes Museum. By making use of male dress codes, the designer brought women a sense of social empowerment whilst retaining their femininity.

Yves Saint Laurent had the ambition to dress all women, not only exclusive haute couture clientele. In 1966, he opened the first ready-to-wear boutique to bear a couturier’s name, SAINT LAURENT rive gauche, opening the way to fashion as we know it today. 

Passionate about the arts, and a collector himself, Yves Saint Laurent paid homage, as early as 1965, to various artists in his haute couture collections, with the famous Mondrian dresses, as well as his homage to Diaghilev and Picasso in 1979 and tributes to Matisse, Cocteau, Braque and Van Gogh in the 1980s, some of which will be displayed at The Bowes Museum. 

Yves Saint Laurent: Style is Eternal will highlight the diverse influences of Yves Saint Laurent. The show will explore a number of themes, from art, transparency and women’s emancipation as well as highlighting the different eras and styles of his creative career. 

Pierre Bergé, President of the Fondation Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint Laurent said:
The Fondation Pierre Bergé - Yves Saint Laurent is committed to the promotion of the work of Yves Saint Laurent internationally, and as such it is extremely exciting to work on this first exhibition in the UK. The Bowes Museum is a natural destination given its exceptional work with fashion and textiles; the museum and its location also clearly reflects Yves Saint Laurent’s and my own passion for inspiring, timeless places. It is the perfect setting for us – a museum built as a French Chateau, in the age of the Second Empire.

Joanna Hashagen, Fashion Curator at The Bowes Museum said: 
We are honoured to host the first exhibition in the UK of Yves Saint Laurent, one of the most influential fashion designers of all time. We are also thrilled to work, alongside the Fondation Pierre Bergé - Yves Saint Laurent, on an innovative display that will introduce a dialogue between the designer’s body of work and The Bowes Museum’s collection. This certainly is a great moment in the history of The Bowes Museum, as well as for fashion display in the UK. 

For press images or more information, please contact:

The Bowes Museum
Sheila Dixon, Media & PR officer, 01833 694616   

Brunswick Arts
Merrie Ashton, Brunswick Arts, +44 (0) 207 396 5339 
Benoit Loiseau, Brunswick Arts, +44 (0) 20 7396 3542  

Notes to Editors:

This exhibition is supported by the Garfield Weston Foundation and Durham County Council.

About the Fondation Pierre Bergé - Yves Saint Laurent

The Fondation Pierre Bergé - Yves Saint Laurent, which opened in 2004 in the former Yves Saint Laurent couture house on 5 Avenue Marceau, Paris, is founded on 40 years of creativity. Recognised as a public organisation, it has three missions:
The rigorous museological conservation of a unique heritage comprising five thousand haute couture garments and fifteen thousand accessories, as well as thousands of sketches, collection boards, photographs, and objects;
The organization of exhibitions, in both the refurbished spaces at 5 Avenue Marceau and museums around the world, promoting Yves Saint Laurent’s work.
The support of cultural institutions encouraging the contemporary arts.

About The Bowes Museum 
The Bowes Museum was created over 100 years ago by John and Joséphine Bowes.  Together they built up the greatest private collection of European fine and decorative arts in the North of England and constructed a magnificent French style chateau to house them in. The collection contains thousands of predominantly French objects including furniture, paintings, sculpture, ceramics, textiles and many other items covering an extensive range of European styles and periods. 
For much of their lives John and Joséphine Bowes lived in Paris. Josephine was formerly an actress and performed in the Théâtre des Variétés, which John Bowes subsequently purchased.
The Bowes Museum has an internationally renowned exhibition programme. Recent exhibitions have included Tim Walker: Dreamscapes; Henry Poole Founder of Savile Row; and Stephen Jones ‘From Georgiana to Boy George’.  Current exhibitions are ‘Birds of Paradise – Plumes and Feathers in Fashion’ initiated by MoMu Fashion Museum, Antwerp, and ‘Julian Opie Collected Works’, which presents works by and inspirations for the contemporary artist.
The Bowes Museum is located in Barnard Castle, County Durham and is open daily from 10.00am – 5.00pm 

About Yves Saint Laurent
Yves Saint Laurent was born on 1st August 1936 in Oran, Algeria, where he spent all his youth.
In 1955, after a period at the Chambre syndicale de la haute couture in Paris, he was introduced by Michel de Brunhoff, then director of Paris Vogue, to Christian Dior, who immediately took him on as his assistant. When Dior died in 1957, Yves Saint Laurent became artistic director of the House of Dior. His first collection, the «Trapèze» collection, presented in January 1958, was an immense success. Called up to do his military service and hospitalised at the Val de Grâce, he was dismissed by the House of Dior in 1960.
In association with Pierre Bergé, whom he had met in 1958, Yves Saint Laurent decided to create his own couture house and his first collection was presented on 29th January 1962 at 30 bis rue Spontini in Paris. They remained there for 12 years during which Yves Saint Laurent invented the modern woman’s wardrobe.
From the end of the 1950s and throughout his career Yves Saint Laurent created costumes for theatre, ballet and cinema. He collaborated with Roland Petit, Claude Régy, Jean-Louis Barrault, Luis Buñuel, François Truffaut... and dressed Jean Marais, Zizi Jeanmaire, Arletty, Jeanne Moreau, Isabelle Adjani and Catherine Deneuve, who became a long-standing close friend.

As early as 1965 Yves Saint Laurent paid tribute to artists in his haute couture collections with the famous Mondrian dresses, then in 1966 with the pop art dresses and in 1967 with his major homage to African primitive art.
Yves Saint Laurent would travel to Marrakech for a fortnight on 1st December and 1st June of each year in order to design his haute couture collections. Morocco, a country he discovered in 1966, was to have a major influence on his work and his colours, as did all his  travels: Japan, India, Russia, China and Spain all provided sources of inspiration for his collections.
In 1974, Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé moved the couture house to 5, avenue Marceau in Paris, where the former would assert his style.

In 1983 the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art devoted a retrospective exhibition to the couturier “Yves Saint Laurent 25 years of design”. It was the first time that a living fashion designer had received such an accolade there. Large-scale exhibitions were subsequently held in Beijing, Moscow, Tokyo and, of course, Paris, at the Musée des Arts de la mode, in 1986.
In 1998 Yves Saint Laurent dressed 300 models who appeared on the pitch of the Stade de France for the final match of the FIFA World Cup.
On 7th January 2002 he announced at a press conference that he was ending his career. On 22nd January of the same year, at the Centre Georges Pompidou, a retrospective show went back over 40 years of creation with over 300 models including his last Spring-Summer 2002 collection.
On 10th March 2004, the Fondation Pierre Bergé – Yves Saint Laurent opened to the public with an exhibition entitled Yves Saint Laurent - Dialogue avec l’Art, which then travelled to the Caixa Galicia Foundation in Spain in 2007. The Yves Saint Laurent Style exhibition was presented in 2008 at the Fine Arts Museum of Montreal, and then at San Francisco’s de Young Museum.
On 1st June 2008, Yves Saint Laurent passed away at his Paris home in his seventy second year.

In 2010, the Fondation organised a major retrospective of Yves Saint Laurent’s work at the Petit Palais in Paris, which travelled to the MAPFRE Foundation in Madrid (2011) and the Denver Art Museum (2012). In 2013, a new exhibition project, Yves Saint Laurent, a visionary, was presented at the ING Cultural Center in Brussels.
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