Dubbed the scandal collection, YSL's Spring/Summer 1971 Haute Couture was the worst received of all times. It drew comments from the international press like, "Nauseating," from Britain's Daily Guardian. "A tour de force of bad taste," "women at their worst," proclaimed Paris-Jour magazine. "St. Laurent-an insult to fashion," wrote a paper in Las Vegas. Even Eugenia Sheppard. fashion editor for the New York Post, chimed in with a comment, "The Ugliest Show in Town!" The media hated it. Local personalities were offended by it. But far across the ocean, me and an entire generation of fashionistas fell head over heels in love with it.
|The exhibit features lifesized reproductions of St. Laurent's sketches, used for cataloging the season's lineups.|
|The embroidered sunburst pattern on blazer is a reoccuring garment found in many of St. Laurent collections.|
|Chubbies were all the rage in the 1970s as were styles with wide, waist cinching inserts or belts.|
|Dress for success: YSL's ultimate power suit appeared just as women began to gain ground in the work force.|
YSL's tuxedo suit was recut into pinstripe "gangster" pantsuits. (I made one to wear at graduation.) Yes, I chopped off my hair and curled it a la 1940's then redrew my face with plucked eyebrows, sunset colored eyeshadows and raisin toned lipstick. (Come to the Cabaret....)
This exhibition is on until July 19 at the Fondation Pierre Berge/Yves Saint Laurent, (3, rue Leonce Reynaud, Paris 16) housed in a small but elegant venue which was once the late designer's Couture house. The story of this collection is told through 84 items, some featured on mannequins and set against a backdrop of larger than life sized croquis, others represented by original sketches, photographs, and a video of that infamous 1971 presentation.
|Impeccable tailoring marks this collection of coat-dresses based on his famous tuxedo suits for women.|
Compared to today's street style, everything is incredibly well tailored, elegant and tasteful but also very conservative (perfect for seniors.) As I thought about this collection and how it impacted my own wardrobe, I had to laugh thinking how the generation before me must have scoured as I pranced down the street with my puffed sleeves and peplums, my turban wrapped head and fake monkey chubby.
|Was it ugly or just the sign of those times? Will today's ugly be tomorrow's classics?|
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