Photographer: Nicolas Mathéus


See the Sleek, Sand-Toned New Yves Saint Laurent Museum in Marrakech

Two museums honoring the late designer are opening this year, one in Paris at his old studio and one in the Moroccan city he loved.

The façade at the Yves Saint Laurent Foundation in Paris.
Source: Sacha, courtesy of Yves Saints Laurent

In October 2017, two museums will open dedicated to the work of Yves Saint Laurent. The first will be housed in the historical couture house at 5 avenue Marceau, a hôtel particulier from the Second Empire where the French designer worked for almost 30 years and which is now being revisited by stage designer Nathalie Crinière and interior designer Jacques Grange. 

The other museum is being erected in another city close to Saint Laurent’s heart—Marrakech.

The designer and his lifetime partner, Pierre Bergé, discovered the Moroccan city in 1966, and on the flight back from their first trip there, they already had the paperwork for a house they wanted to buy. They went back regularly, and it was in Marrakech that Saint Laurent imagined his collections. 

Jardin Majorelle

The Musée Yves Saint Laurent in Marrakech.
Photographer: Nicolas Mathéus

“Yves Saint Laurent and I discovered Marrakech in 1966, and we never left,” Bergé said. “This city deeply influenced Saint Laurent’s life and work, particularly his discovery of colour.”

Having moved to a new house very close to Jardin Majorelle, a garden of exotic plants and rare species created in the 1930s by French Orientalist painter Jacques Majorelle, Saint Laurent and Bergé pounced when they heard that the now-public treasure would soon be demolished. To save it, they decided to buy it. Over the years, the garden flourished under their watch, and they developed a museum to the Berber culture on the site. The complex already receives almost 700,000 visitors a year. 

The new museum, on the aptly named Rue Yves Saint Laurent, is not within the garden but quite close, on the same block, and was financed using the entrance fees of the garden.

An auditorium inside the Marrakech museum.
Photographer: Nicolas Mathéus

A Space for Research and Performance

Yves Saint Laurent in his Paris studio, 1986.
Source: DR, courtesy of Yves Saints Laurent

Designed by the French architecture firm Studio KO, founded by Olivier Marty and Karl Fournier, it is built of terra cotta, concrete, and an earthen-colored terrazzo with pieces of Moroccan stone, perfectly fitting in with the surroundings. “Their clean, uncluttered style recalls Saint Laurent’s work,” Bergé said of Studio KO. 

Spanning more than 13,000 square feet, the museum will feature a temporary exhibition space, an auditorium, a bookshop, a café-restaurant with a terrace, and a research library, as well as a 400-square-meter permanent exhibition space, which will showcase an important selection from the Fondation Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint Laurent’s collection.

A 1965 Yves Saint Laurent dress, an homage to Piet Mondrian. 
Source: Foundation Pierre Bergé - Yves Saint Laurent, Paris/Alexandre Guirkinger

Saint Laurent had his first couture show in 1962 and quickly started archiving his work. Thanks to this early vision, the collection—stored in the historical couture house in Paris, which then became the foundation and is now about to house the Yves Saint Laurent museum—is unparalleled in the world of high fashion. It comprises 5,000 haute couture garments, including the famous Mondrian dress and Van Gogh-embroidered jackets, 15,000 accessories. such as hats, jewelry, and shoes, as well as thousands of sketches, collection boards, photographs, and objects. 

In Paris, visitors will be able to admire the collection, displayed through retrospectives and temporary exhibitions, visit Saint Laurent’s studio, walk through the former haute couture salons, and just explore the immense heritage the French designer left. 

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