Originally Posted 1/9/17
I finally got around to seeing the Yves Saint Laurent exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum. It was a very hot ticket. When I tried to go on the final free Thursday event of the exhibit’s run, there was a two hour wait. Instead I purchased a ticket for the following Saturday. Even then there were people lined up for up to 15 minutes prior to their ticket times. I found out once inside this was to control the number of people in the exhibit. It got very crowded and chatty at times, and I appreciate SAM’s efforts to curb that.
For me I usually like to quietly experience art. I look, and read and think about what I am viewing. In the case of fashion exhibits, I look closely at techniques and design for inspiration. While musems can be fun dates and hangouts, I have a great time on my own.
My main takeaway from the exhibit was simplicity. Remember the acronym K.I.S.S.? In case you aren’t familiar it stands for “keep it simple, stupid”. Well, I certainly felt YSL’s spirit giving me a big ole K.I.S.S. With solitary focuses and impeccable fitting, while he could do a lot, he usually choose not to. The exhibit showed sketches from his production process as well as finished garments, films and photography. As was evident from his childhood illustrations, YSL could draw, but his illustrations were very simple and over croquis that remained the same for decade long stretches of time. Still a little insecure from my days as a fashion student, I don’t draw a lot. I get frustrated that the image on the paper isn’t as beautiful as the image in my mind. It has be en a long time since I drew just to express my imagination. This maybe hindering me.
Half way through the exhibit, my phone went dead. Sorry. Even sadder it was in my favorite room of the exhibit. Piercing through the darkness was an elevated mannequin under a spotlight. The mannequin wore a black velvet dress with a brown fox draped over it’s shoulder. The fox wore a thin graphic gold muzzle connected to a gold chain that tethered it to the mannequin. They both were placed upon a case filled with costume jewelry. A contemporary audience would consider a lot of it garish, but I fell in love in that room. From the vibes of the treasure trove I saw the special pieces my grandmother saved for Sunday morning and the items my mother would defiantly wear on the number 2 bus. It was the type of bounty you’d expect in the closet of Elizabeth Taylor; her brushing off your awe saying “ you mean this old thing?” Yves Saint Laurent encouraged his customer to dress head to toe in black, but to accessorize with passion. Why don’t we still dressed this way?!
In the following rooms I quickly sketched a few looks. I enjoyed not being concerned with the results. I definitely need to continue that spirit in my work. I can’t wait until the next fashion event the Seattle Art Museum.
Check out my photos from the exhibit.