Yves Saint Laurent 'Dreams of the Orient'

Yves Saint Laurent 'Dreams of the Orient'

Open now at the Musée Yves Saint Laurent Paris, this exhibit features 50 haute couture designs inspired by the fashions of India, China, and Japan.

Open now at the Musée Yves Saint Laurent Paris, this exhibit features 50 haute couture designs inspired by the fashions of India, China, and Japan.

Text: Chloe Laguette

As the museum's first temporary exhibition, "Dreams Of the Orient"  is now on display at the year old Musée Yves Saint Laurent Paris. More than fifty of the French designer's Asian-inspired haute couture designs will be on display in tandem with dialogue and other Asian artworks borrowed from the Musée national des arts asiatiques - Guimet and private collectors.

Saint Laurent himself claimed he was always inspired by Asian culture, however, as the New York Times reports, the collection reveals he rarely visited the countries in person, with Japan being the only exception. This is shown in the kimonos of Kyoto courtesans to Kabuki theater costumes. His obsession with India (a place he has never visited), is represented in the fabrics, jewels and various reinterpretations of the turban and sari.

"All I have to do to blend into a place or a landscape is to read a book or look at a picture, and then use my imagination," Laurent famously declared, "I have been to every country in my dreams."

Other highlights in the exhibition include silk brocade jackets and emperor gowns from his fall 1977 Les Chinoises collection, in red floral prints and gold dragon-like scales. Dresses with silhouettes inspired by a Ming dynasty vase are displayed next to Laurent's original sketches of a perfume bottle for the controversial Opium fragrance introduced the same year.

“Asia was a recurring theme for Mr. Saint Laurent but a place he largely visited through imaginary travels, rarely in real life,” Aurélie Samuel, the exhibition’s curator, said in an interview with The New York Times “But he knew so much about the history and heritage of these countries, and that shines through in his work. These garments are a reminder of the power of his dreams.”

Credits: IMAGES VIA MUSEE YVES SAINT LAURENT PARIS

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