The work of Yves Saint Laurent spans decades however there is one dress he will forever be synonymous for and that is the Mondrian dress of Haute couture collection A/W 1965. A collection that sits between the borders of fashion and fine art due to the clear inspiration from famous modernist artist, Piet Mondrian. This collection is featured in the film biopic of the designer directed by Jalil Lespart, released in 2014. A pivotal moment in his career, the event is dramatised in the film as Yves (Pierre Niney) is seen to be lacking inspiration and has a eureka moment when reaching for the Mondrian book. These dresses will forever be heralded in the career of this legendary designer but they also served the purpose of reminding audiences of the work of Mondrian. To a contemporary audience, his creative output is hugely well known however Saint Laurent once said the dresses ‘helped to make the general public aware of a tremendous yet forgotten artist’. Others also suggest the idea that Saint Laurent was trying to align himself with the masters of the purist forms of art and expression and somewhat distancing from the business matters that increasingly dictate the fashion sphere. As a designer that began in Haute Couture, becoming creative director of Dior in his very early twenties, his practise was one that would potentially sit further to this idea of what is truly art. Saint Laurent did not however shy away from the wider fashion world in fact he was a pioneer of the broadening of fashion’s spectrum. A true maverick figure, not only did he dare to place women in tuxedo suits and jeans, he was arguably one of the first designers to be seen taking inspiration from the street and naturally stylish people. His first ready to wear store, Rive Gauche, translating as Left bank, featured garments inspired by the beatniks he hung around with in Paris’ left bank area. By pioneering a combination of artistic influences such as the work of Mondrian and the style of the Parisian locals around him, Yves Saint Laurent was a visionary that transcended the ideas expected of his role of a fashion designer and is what I would deem as a true artist.
Yves Saint Laurent (2014) Directed by Jalil Lespart [Yves Saint Laurent]. Worldwide: SND Groupe M6.
Chenoune, F. (2010) Yves Saint Laurent. New york: Harry N. Abrams, Inc.