Three "Hommage à Piet Mondrian" cocktail dresses from the Yves Saint Laurent fall 1965 collection

A TRIP TO THE MUSEUM: Works by Dutch painter Piet Mondrian are on show at the Yves Saint Laurent Museum in Paris — but don’t expect them to be hung on the wall.

For the second staging of its archival collections, unveiled today, the museum has chosen to celebrate Yves Saint Laurent’s love of art, focusing on two key moments in the couturier’s career: the Mondrian dresses, which were part of the Yves Saint Laurent fall 1965 collection, and the designer’s collaboration with sculptor Claude Lalanne for fall 1969.

Four of the Mondrian cocktail dresses, inspired by a book about Mondrian that Saint Laurent was given by his mother, are part of the 50 couture looks presented throughout Saint Laurent’s former studio on the Avenue Marceau, alongside the iconic “Babouchka” knitted wedding dress also from the fall 1965 collection.

Crafted out of seamless wool jersey, the now iconic shift dresses mirror the Dutch artist’s block paintings, transposing their geometrical shapes from canvas to garment. Hailed as revolutionary at the time, Saint Laurent’s Mondrian dresses are considered to have transformed the relationship between art and fashion and paved the way for further homages by the couturier, who went on to channel his love of Picasso, Van Gogh and Matisse in his designs.

The two dresses created in collaboration with artist Claude Lalanne for fall 1969

The two dresses created in collaboration with artist Claude Lalanne for fall 1969, seen here at Yves Saint Laurent’s last show in 2002.  Courtesy

Despite his fascination for the art world, Saint Laurent only ever collaborated with one artist throughout his career. The designer reached out to Lalanne to create two dresses for his fall 1969 collection, which are also presented at the museum.

The French artist, whose surrealist inspirations fascinated both Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé, molded parts of a model’s body to create copper shapes, which were then added to flowing mousseline dresses, one black and one blue. Lalanne went on to become a regular collaborator of the maison, creating intricate jewelry for the designer such as copper tiaras and flower headpieces for the fall 1981 collection.

No exhibition on Yves Saint Laurent would be complete without his “greatest hits” — the museum dedicates a whole section to the key pieces of the Saint Laurent wardrobe, the smoking, the saharienne, the trench coat and the jumpsuit. Visitors will also be able to discover the work of photographer Claus Ohm, who documented the house’s fashion shows from 1976 to 1997.

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