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Museé Yves Saint Laurent, Paris

March 4, 2018

To know fashion is to know it’s history, and by history I mean learn about what led the designer to that moment in time, to that collection. It’s easy to sit front row and critique creativity; more often than not spew an opinion based on how well the hospitality bar is stocked. Not cool.

I visited the Musée Yves Saint Laurent in Paris on Tuesday afternoon with no expectations. I often pride myself on getting to know designers beforehand which allows me to formulate opinions of their collections after the show. This visit was different as I’d not done much research on the history of YSL.

It was the end of a long day, and my intention was to whip around, check out some stuff and leave. In fact, I contemplated skipping the video of Monsieur Saint Laurent and head for the nearest cafe. Paris is freezing right now. (See, I told you we are influenced by external stimuli.) Fortunately, one of the ushers encouraged me to experience the full tour. I think he laid on some extra Congolese charm having heard I was also from Africa.

I knew little of the YSL House so sponged as if it were a free mini bar the day before payday. Did you know that Yves Saint Laurent lived in Morocco and actually hung out with The Rolling Stones? How cool? He ate, drank, lived his passion, collaborated with other haute couture houses and skilled craftsmen. He did what he had to, to create the YSL empire it still is today.

The designer himself described the relationship he had with partner and manager Pierre Berge as, “that great eagle with two heads who navigated the seas, transcended boundaries and invaded the world with unparalleled scope, that was us”.

I’m grateful I stayed for the full tour. The video taught me that to be truly creative, I need to ditch all BS.

On a cold Tuesday afternoon in the heart of Paris, standing in the calm studio of an haute couture master, I learned that I do not need or want other people’s issues in my life. The tattoo on my heart now reads, “don’t touch my soul with your dirty hands. I’m busy being amazing”

Will I be less critical in my reviews of South African shows? Oh, hell no! From Saint Laurent’s opening piece, an AW1966 smoking jacket to the finale which resembles a bird taking flight, every detail tells me that creatives need to aspire to a level of unparalleled craftsmanship. Even if you don’t reach it, know that you’ve tried. And leave the BS behind.

love & light from Paris

Footnote: Read all about the designer’s love affair with Morocco and his Jardin Majorelle here.

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