Back to the future with ‘YSL: Style is Eternal’

FROM colour-blocking to the ‘illusion’ dress, it’s clear that there’s nothing new about the latest style buzzwords after admiring the spectacular Yves Saint Laurent: Style is Eternal exhibition.

Running until October 25, The Bowes Museum in Barnard Castle is the first venue in the UK to showcase a retrospective spanning more than 40 years of the designer’s celebrated career.

Iconic pieces including Le Smoking tuxedo to a short evening dress inspired by Pop Art look as good as new but also reassuringly familiar as they’ve been snapped on beauties of our time from Kate Moss to Charlotte Rampling and reinvented for a new generation.
When the House of Yves Saint Laurent opened in 1961 the couturier was only 25 years old and was already feted as Christian Dior’s successor.

He built on Dior’s post-war ‘New Look’ by liberating women even further through their wardrobes. From androgynous suits to seductive sheer dresses his designs were as empowering as they were powerful.
But while he championed women and their every-changing roles in society through his haute couture, his creativity was also inspired by male artists including Andy Warhol, Henri Matisse and Georges Braque.


Each garment in itself is a work of art from the glittering bead work to the vibrant colour palettes. The magnificent French chateau in Teesdale has cleverly woven the visiting display into its own historic textiles to produce a ‘Spectaculaire’ which, fittingly, is the name of one of the show-stopping collections.


IMG_0370Curated by The Foundation Pierre Berge and The Bowes Museum, an experience has been created which transports visitors back to the future.

While classical music plays, visitors are led past his ‘salon’ and the fashion themes of ‘Masculin-Feminin’, Transparence and Art are interspersed with sketches, photos, magazine covers and a film showing Yves Saint Laurent’s catwalk show for Princess Margaret at Bleinheim Palace.

The guide leaflet which accompanies the exhibition, reads: “He replaced the tyranny of fashion with an emphasis on style, leaving a woman free to express her true personality through her attire.” And you don’t get more inspirational than that.


YSL: Style is Eternal exhibition until October 25 – adult admission price £14, £12 for concessions.

Gallery and exhibitions open daily 10am – 5pm.

The Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle, Co Durham, DL12 8NP

Tel 01833-690606

Website                   Twitter: @TheBowesMuseum                   Instagram @thebowesmuseum



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