Friday, 4 September 2015

YSL at Bowes Museum

How strange to find this French-style chateau in the heart of the north Yorkshire countryside! It was built by John Bowles and his French wife, Josephine as a museum and opened to the public in 1892.

The permanent display of ceramics was charming
and this industrious pair milking cows reminded us that we would be going to an agricultural show the following day.
But our purpose in coming to Bowes was to see the Yves Saint Laurent exhibition, the first UK exhibition of his work. First of all Himself had to be sustained with a ploughman's lunch. I think the ploughman must have been a rather big bloke! (The wedge of black is cheese made with the addition of charcoal.)
Suitably fortified by ham and pork pie Himself was able to look at frocks without murmur.
I found the first room very confusing and it took a while to sort out what was going on. A YSL outfit was placed amongst items from the permanent collection for the viewer to make their own connections. I think that this room needed to be far better curated. I liked that the catwalk show was played above the dress on display so that you could see how the fabric moved on the body.

Embroidered evening jacket, 'Homage to Vincent Van Gogh' Autumn/winter 1988
Embroidery by Lesage, sequins, bugle and seed beads and ribbons on white silk organza.
The final room had far greater clarity as it displayed only YSL pieces in thematic groupings.
Haute Couture in midnight blue silk velvet
Homage to Louis Aragon Autumn/winter 1980
Evening dress 'Zephirine' Autumn/winter 1958
Shocking pink faille dress with a 'point d'esprit' net double skirt. Fabulous!

As an art student in the early '60's I wore my father's waistcoats and my elder brother's old corduroy scout shorts so I feel that I was a bit ahead of the game on the masculine-feminin vibe!

An evening gown from 1980 inspired by Matisse paper cut-outs.
Black silk velvet bodice, skirt of black moire faille with appliqué in satin, velvet, faille and gazar. A blue silk satin belt tied with a triple knot at the front.
On the far left is 'Homage to Pop Art' 1966, a black wool jersey shift dress with an appliquéd bright red mouth - I would have loved to have been wearing that in 1966!
It interested me to realise how many of my clothes have been influenced by YSL; pinstriped suit, tick, patchwork skirt, tick, cheeky little shift dresses, tick, although, sadly, none of them with a YSL label!
Husband and daughter left the exhibition in deep conversation - were they talking about dresses or pork pies?

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