Musée Yves Saint Laurent Paris

The Vision of Yves Saint Laurent

Musée Yves Saint Laurent Paris

While I was in Paris, I visited the Musée Yves Saint Laurent. Within this 450 square foot chic museum, I explored YSL’s permanent fashion collections, the actual salon rooms in which clients were received for fittings, rooms filled with prototypes, the studio in which thousands of garments were brought to life, and the original design office of Yves Saint Laurent himself! Follow along to experience a glimpse inside his haute couture house.

Clients were presented with a collection and then fitted in the salons on the first floor. Each client had a personal saleswoman who oversaw the three fittings that were needed before the final made-to-measure garments were made. Up until 1976, fashion shows were also held in these rooms.

,,It is extremely motivating to me to experience the life and fashions of such an iconic designer...

Influence Behind YSL Designs

Musée Yves Saint Laurent Paris

Most of YSL’s signature style is borrowed from menswear, with YSL retaining the same cut, comfort, and practical aspects in a way that combined simplicity and elegance. Throughout his career, the couturier continually reinterpreted the tuxedo, the pea coat, the trench coat, the jumpsuit, and the safari jacket. He transformed the antique togas worn by vestals into draped evening gowns. The legacy of YSL’s timeless style is still seen in women’s wardrobes today.

All of the pieces on display in the museum are items created by Yves Saint Laurent with low lighting and low temperatures in order to preserve them.

On the second floor there was a film playing on repeat every 15 minutes. This film was devoted to the unique relationship Yves Saint Laurent and his longtime partner Pierre Bergé shared throughout their life together. They established and ran a haute couture house that became an empire, with YSL designing and Bergé managing. I learned that YSL and Bergé lived in the mansion as well, but unfortunately the residential floors were not open to the public.

Lying at the heart of the haute couture house was his design office, aka Le Studio. The room was a bright, quiet, neutral space with a mirrored wall. I saw drawings of sketches lying around that were once given to the chefs d’ateliers, who first produced a “toile” (or mockup), a version made of ecru cotton that provided an idea of the final proportions, cut, and silhouette. Once the toile was approved, the fabrics were selected so that the design could be made and accessorized. The couturier then studied the model’s reflection in the mirror, which offered the necessary distance for evaluating a garment. The bookshelves contained the publications that served as the couturier’s main sources of inspiration.

It is extremely motivating to me to experience the life and fashions of such an iconic designer in the original headquarters for YSL prior to becoming the museum. To me, Yves Saint Laurent was a creative genius who remains one of the greatest couturiers of the twentieth century. It’s inspiring to see how my own process of creating bespoke corsets has so many similarities to this fashion icon.

Let’s get started on a custom handmade corset of your own! I am happy to answer any questions you may have. Please comment below.

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*Some information quoted directly from Musée Yves Saint Laurent Paris brochure