Few artists are able to create the sheer cultural impact that Yves Saint Laurent has over the span of a 44-year-long career. As an appreciator of high fashion, it's impossible to miss Yves Saint Laurent's influence on some of the most modern designers shaking up the industry today. It seems only fitting that this legendary creator be commemorated with an extensive exhibit set to travel the country and light the fires of young artists everywhere. Seattle is lucky enough to be the first city to host Yves Saint Laurent: The Perfection of Style.
Drawing from the collection of the Foundation Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint Laurent, the show features over 100 haute couture garments, artifacts and accessories, some of which are never-before-seen. Starting with an exclusive showcase of Saint Laurent's Paper Doll Couture House—created when he was merely a teen—the exhibit takes style savants and equally curious visitors on a journey through his life, creative vision and controversial career. From his early designs at the House of Dior, to his final eponymous creations of 2002, The Perfection of Style captures the iconic essence of Saint Laurent in a way that no book or documentary really could. Walking through the exquisite exhibit left me awe-struck and intensely moved.
“My weapon is the perspective in which I see my society.”
yves saint laurent
What makes Saint Laurent so inspiring to me is his lack of regard for the opinions of others. His designs pushed boundaries that had yet to be pushed in the 1960s and '70s, allowing women to express themselves in a way they never could before. Whether it was through a sleek pantsuit or an otherwise modestly cut dress with a revealing sheer panel, Saint Laurent modernized the way we dress by turning the rules of style on their head. The passion he had for fashion as an art form and an expression of personality permeated through every piece that he created. Some of my favorite garments on display used color, structure and fabric in abstract, yet cohesive, ways. The unmatchable attention to detail of each piece begged to be inspected as I glided through the living gallery of astonishing attire.
"Fashion fades, style is eternal."
yves saint laurent
Oddly enough, I couldn't help but think of my own artistic endeavors as I soaked in the collective masterpiece Yves Saint Laurent had assembled during his lifetime. As a young boy, I always felt like an outsider for showing an interest in fashion, music and performance. It wasn't until I was a teenager that I attained a Saint-Laurent-like fearlessness to pursue the arts in full force. Once I ignored the opinions of others as Saint Laurent did, I started to gain confidence not only in my work, but in myself. A dedication to perfecting my craft—which has morphed from fashion to music to theatre to creative writing to photography to marketing to an ever-changing combination of it all—is one thing I'll always be proud of. If there's one thing to take away from Yves Saint Laurent: The Perfection of Style, it's that you can be truly iconic by simply being your most authentic self.