Emerging at the right time is pure genius.
To be sure, good timing is essential -- be it declaring true love,
telling a joke or refinancing your house....
There's a new museum in town that proves once and for all
that particular school of thought is pure gold.
Musée Yves Saint Laurent Paris opened in late 2017 just in the nick of time.
It was a year that needed something genuinely good -- not just
agreeable but downright inspirational.
After an endless slog of political brawling, terrorist attacks and a world
generally run amok, France -- and the world at large -- needed a shot in the arm.
Right time, right place, right person, the city of Paris
lifted itself out of the gloom of a rather wretched year.
They unveiled a thoughtful portrayal of the life and work of Yves Saint Laurent,
a man graced with genius, but perhaps more importantly,
a whole lotta heart & soul.
Always timely, toujours élégant, the House of Saint Laurent was a
creative universe where good taste was served with panache and grace.
And isn't that what Paris does best?
heavy breathing and wide eyed wonder at every turn.
Visitors are treated to fashion as fine art, commanding as much attention
as a masterwork from Matisse or Picasso.
Color, technique, and style made Yves Saint Laurent a champion of world fashion.
Perhaps best of all, Saint Laurent's personal élan is on exhibit as well,
his workroom a personal highlight for this fan.
However you wish to label it, Saint Laurent's success was no mystery.
He and partner Pierre Berger created magic with a philosophy
that celebrated women and beauty.
They carefully built a brand, and it's your good luck to witness the
galaxy that helped define Paris fashion and its place in history.
Yves Saint Laurent
Sketches, photographs -- even a doggie dish -- welcome you to Saint Laurent's personal sanctuary, his work-a-day atelier.
The people and things he loved surrounded him, a potent mix of art and
pop culture that translated into his designs.
A photograph of Catherine Deneuve reminds you the designer
didn't just create fashions, he translated style and made it personal.
"Fashions fade, style is eternal."
Yves Saint Laurent
Saint Laurent's pieces scream luxury even as
they maintain a certain understated elegance.
It made me realize strategic costuming is much like arranging flowers.
Just one petal out of place and the "look" can go in the wrong direction.
Saint Laurent's legacy and influence stemmed from a carefully
cultivated kaleidoscope of color, texture and design.
His greatest hits covered the body top to bottom with bona fide art.
Even the most celebrated "understated" designs -- like his classic
pea coat and unostentatious trench -- articulated glamour and polish.
He practically invented the jumpsuit, a blockbuster hit, continues to pop on magazine covers nearly fifty years after its premiere on the runway.
Sure, his safari jacket may look a bit dated now -- yet still, it spells r-e-f-i-n-e-m-e-n-t.
"Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak."
Rachel Zoe, American fashion designer, tv host
We want Paris to be the capital of fashion. It's only right.
Sure, New York, Milan and London have their "thing" going
and we crave a bit of that too -- but Paris is where we define it.
The House of Worth led to the rise of fashion, then came Coco Chanel,
Christian Dior and Yves Saint Laurent.
And the haute-couture train hasn't stopped.
Much like "Star Wars" signature opening crawl,
the Paris fashion parade has no end in sight.
When I think of Paris style, I always "see" Audrey Hepburn.
Though it wasn't Yves Saint Laurent who created her look*,
we had stars in our eyes each time she popped up on the screen.
Films like "Sabrina," "Funny Face" and "Charade" -- just to name a few --
remind us there's no place like Paris for discovering your personal style.
Even a chauffeur's daughter can come home looking like a million bucks.
"Paris isn't for changing planes, it's for changing your outlook.
For throwing open the windows and letting in ... la vie en rose."
Sabrina Fairchild (Audrey Hepburn) offers sage advice to
all-work-no-play Linus Larrabee (Humphrey Bogart) in 1954's classic "Sabrina"
*Audrey Hepburn's trademark gowns were designed by a different Paris designer, Hubert de Givenchy.
is that Yves Saint Laurent chic will never go out of style.
The year was 1965.
Saint Laurent's Mondrian dress*, a hit then,
could likely still walk the runway to great acclaim.
Thank goodness for these reminders of a great legacy.
Sure, the city of Paris offers a number of fashion museums -- as they should.
But this is the one I hope you'll choose next.
Strut your way to #5 avenue Marceau and you'll be reminded
just how lucky you are to be in the fashion capital of the world.
Even if you're more T.J. Maxx than YSL,
you'll spend a few glorious hours reliving fashion history.
Truly, it's a fantasy experience, a date with the pinnacle of luxury.
Walking through the open doors of Musée Yves Saint Laurent is as near as
I'll ever get to Paris Fashion Week -- and the best seat in the house.
Who could turn down an invitation like that?