In recent art world news, two new museums devoted to the late iconic French fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent are opening this month. The first is in Paris, which was the home of Yves Saint Laurent’s fashion empire, and the second is in Marrakech, which was the designer’s adopted city from which he drew inspiration in creating his fabled designs. The museums represent years of work by the foundation established by Yves Saint Laurent with his business and life partner, Pierre Bergé, who passed away last month.
The Musée Yves Saint Laurent Paris opened on October 3 in the hôtel particulier at 5 Avenue Marceau where Saint Laurent operated his fashion studio for nearly 30 years. The building operated as Foundation Pierre Bergé—Yves Saint Laurent’s headquarters since 2004 and was converted into an exhibition space in the style of the original couture house by way of a €4 million refurbishment.
The Musée Yves Saint Laurent Marrakech is set to open on October 19 in a new €15 million cultural center on Rue Yves Saint Laurent. The pink granite, brass and brick museum also includes permanent and temporary gallery space, a research library, an auditorium, a conservation studio and a café. The museum shares a personal connection to Saint Laurent through its proximity to the renowned Jardin Majorelle, a botanical garden that the designer and Bergé saved from destruction in 1980.
The museum in Marrakech will focus on the influence of Moroccan culture while the emphasis of the museum in Paris will be on the late designer in the broader context of the fashion industry. The highlight of the museum in Paris is a recreation of Saint Laurent’s atelier (studio) filled with an assortment of swatches, samples and personal effects.
The [F]oundation’s collection of 5,000 haute couture garments and 15,000 accessories and archival materials will rotate between the two [museums], with 1,000 items, including 250 outfits, held in Marrakech at any one time.”
The new museums were supported through the efforts of Bergé who raised funds by selling most of the art collection he had built over time with Saint Laurent and his treasured library of rare books. Christie’s three-part auction “sale of the century” in Paris in 2009 raised nearly €375 million for the Foundation and other charities.