PARIS — Everyone knows fashion is theater. But what happens when theater becomes fashion?
That is the subject of the latest exhibit at the Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint Laurent Foundation, titled "Yves Saint Laurent: Theater, Cinema, Music-Hall and Ballet," which opens Wednesday night here.
Many of Saint Laurent's most extravagant confections for the stage are on show, including the fantastical bejeweled and feathered creations the now-retired couturier whipped up for Zizi Jeanmaire in her hit shows during the Sixties and Seventies.
Visitors enter to see Saint Laurent's fun costumes for the ballet "Notre Dame de Paris," which played at the Opera de Paris in 1965, directed by Roland Petit.
Saint Laurent had many fruitful collaborations with Petit, starting in 1959 with "Cyrano de Bergerac" and running through other hits like "Sheherazade" and "Les Forains."
"He loved the ballet," said Bergé on Monday. "He was totally at ease in that world."
But Saint Laurent was equally at home in the world of film. He dressed Claudia Cardinale in "The Pink Panther" and put Isabelle Adjani in a black evening gown for Luc Besson's "Subway."
Most memorable, perhaps, are the outfits YSL gave Catherine Deneuve for her role as a bored wife-turned-prostitute in director Luis Buñuel's "Belle de jour." The black frock with a white satin collar Deneuve wore in the film is on display.
Though Saint Laurent had myriad collaborations with the theater, he only designed both sets and costumes on one occasion. That was in 1978 for a production of Jean Cocteau's "L'Aigle à deux têtes" at the Théâtre de l'Athénée. "It was a great success," recalled Bergé.
An entire room in the exhibit is devoted to the sumptuous stage set with its elaborately carved, eagle-like chair and towering candelabra.
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