It’s no secret that I have a love and fire that burns eternally for French designer Yves Saint Laurent and while there were tons and tons of museums to see while in Paris- many that I plan to return and visit, I must say that for my first time in France- the Yves Saint Laurent Museum ala Musee Yves Saint Laurent Paris was a must see and I am glad that I didn’t miss this one.
It was purely magical- so let’s get into why! First, let me say this day started off great with plenty of rest and an afternoon in Montmartre- you can check out the recap of that visit in “Sooo France was life” which will drop soon but now let’s focus on the life and times of the legendary YSL.
We booked tickets for a 6:30pm tour and the timing couldn’t have been better. This was off in a nook of the neighborhood not overrun by tourists and selfie sticks, just people with a passion for French style and culture.
This museum was the last known studio of the legendary French luxury designer, and he and his partner Pierre Hardy transformed it into the Yves Saint Laurent Foundation- opening the doors to the public.
It took everything in me to contain my excitement about this visit and even moreso because it was off the beaten path and not apart of your typical tourist experience, which is what Carlos and I love when we travel.
When you first enter the museum- I liken it to the feeling of a luxury home with stupendously elegant chandeliers suspended from the ceiling and the first room of the left completely dedicated to the dress that made him famous- the Mondrian.
Colorblocked in red, blue and yellow with strong black lines- this look was the defining moment for this dapper young designer at the time. It was so influential that I remember reading an entire chapter on it in my Fashion History class in undergrad and feeling so inspired by the fact that he found his aesthetic in the fashion world and where it took him in his life.
Then, when you enter to the right you walk into a set-up of some of his earliest designs and really begin to take in his influence and attention to detail and you could tell how much he loved to dress the feminine frame.
You are able to see relics from his ready to wear/pret a porter and haute couture collections like his invitee lists and seating charts and the order of the shows.
Once you travel upstairs, you can watch a short film that is about 10 minutes long chroncling his life and his travels to Morocco where he found most of his inspiration and even created his second foundation and studio.
Narrated by both he and his partner, Pierre- the film dives into what made people yearn for Yves and how he carved out his own identity in the world of haute couture all the way until his death.
Once you reached upstairs, you are met by small displays and screens playing shorts from his past fashion shows and able to see the styles from the show on display in live action.
Additionally there were signature jewelry pieces like this embellished heart
One thing I loved about Yves Saint Laurent is that he believed in the mantra “representation matters” and so he was infamous for always using black models and women of color from all over the world because he felt that his clothing really popped against their skin, even towards the end of the exhibit, before you exit he has a walk that I call “black on black”- as its some of his most iconic all black pieces on black models and it made me feel so beautiful. It made me feel seen in a world that often time makes us feel overlooked.
This is what made me loved Paris- the fact that you felt like you could exist and live amongst those you love and those who love you without pretense or prejudice.
But the pie de resistance was being able to see and walk through his ACTUAL studio. This part almost brought me to tears- to see where this man made his magic and probably many days felt his pain or doubt when something didn’t come together as planned.
To see where models were fitted and madames were made to smile from ear to ear from something he custom made just for them.
To see his library of books on art, culture, travel, history and his boxes of notions and trims.
To see his catalogs chronicling his collections and his sketches in his space where he created was incredibly full circle for me as I am setting out to become the designer I want to be is what really got me.
Being in the same space and in the studio of Yves Saint Laurent is something that as long as I live- I will never forget.
After our visit to the studio, we passed a display of intricate accessories, where there were rows and rows of precisely placed pieces of jewelry from headwear to necklaces to earrings and cuffs, lit up in lightboxes for all to see.
This led to a gown in a gorgeous shade of pink that you couldn’t just pass by.
After our visit to the studio, which led to the gift shop and I of course just had to get something. So my hunny gifted me an authentic Yves Saint Laurent X Printemps scarf in a gorgeous Mediterranean blue and bright yellow.
Excited was an understatement as the receptionist replied “I can tell you enjoyed yourself madame and just so you know you are lucky- as this scarf is limited edition and after this month they are discontinuing this style and won’t be making anymore”
TALK ABOUT WINNING. Could this trip possibly get any better? I didn’t think it could but it definitely did.
Speaking about Winning- Let’s also get into my look of the day. I kept it cute and casual as the weather slightly dropped to a cooler temp and called for something light but comfortable. This was the day I broke out my 3 Euro red thermal that I bought from the Zara around the corner from our hotel. Talk about clutch. I tied a scarf around my scarf also from Zara and threw on my trusty Levis over these long legs, my white Converse and a pop of Ruby Woo Matte lippie from Mac and was ready to roll.
That entire day wore us out and I knew my hunny was tired- but his attitude was “hey we are in Paris right” so we hopped on the train and ended up in the Paris Nord district at a salsa night that was non-stop.
A good greasy juicy burger and four mojitos later and we were dancing the night away to French hiphop and soul. This was not only a day but a night I would always remember even though we had to be up early AGAIN the next day- for what A CHAMPAGNE TOUR!
Stay tuned for my full breakdown of our tour of the Champagne Region with “A Day in Epernay”. (yes it deserves it own separate post- its THAT serious”
While Reading your monologue about your trip I felt like I was physically transferred into every new discovery. Almost as real as being there. Thank you for the trip.
Thanks so much for being such a valued and consistent reader Betty.