Louvre Saint Laurent
Even if you saw the Yves Saint Laurent exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the addition of 70 garments, the interesting groupings of the clothes, the added accessories -- including hairpieces -- and the museum itself make a visit to the YSL exhibit at the new Museum of Fashion in the Louvre worthwhile.
Stephen de Pietri, an American who works with Saint Laurent and who organized the show, made a list of dresses he felt should have been included in earlier exhibits, went back to the original order books and consulted the vendeuses (saleswomen) to discover the purchasers. That is how he tracked down an evening dress bought by Princess Grace, a patchwork costume from the Duchess of Windsor and many more. The house of YSL itself has kept 20 or so costumes from each collection, which has been an important source of clothes, accessories and even extra fabric to cover shoes. De Pietri bought back several items, including a suit owned by Catherine Deneuve, from a dealer in the Palais Royal.
Although the exhibit includes the very first design Saint Laurent made for the house of Christian Dior, as well as gowns from the most recent collection, it is grouped by theme rather than chronologically. There is a stunning room of black clothes inspired by the smoking jacket, including many that would be totally appropriate today. In another room, some of the clothes are shown onxr seated mannequins who appear to be watching a couture show, with other mannequins in evening gowns walking down a runway.
There are more dresses on exhibit in this show from the very controversial "Siren" collection, when the clothes looked very 1940s and were panned for being "hooker-ish." "That is one of Yves' favorite collections," said de Pietri, who included eight siren dresses in the current show, compared with the three shown in New York and the six in Peking. There may well be more from this collection when the exhibit travels to the Soviet Union next year a show at the House of Painters in Moscow and at the Hermitage in Leningrad.
There are interesting clusters of mannequins -- the unlikely trio of the Duchess of il,9p Windsor, Sonny von Bu low and Candice Bergen, and dresses made for the Proust Ball in 1971 for Jane Birkin and the Baroness Guy de Rothschild. And while it is fascinating to see what Natalie Wood and others purchased, the big surprise is not in the wearer but the stitcher of a brown lace dress. The dress was made by designer Azzedine Alaia when he worked for Saint Laurent briefly before he opened his own business.
The Museum of Fashion has been a popular attraction since it opened last January in the Louvre, next door to the Museum of Decorative Arts on the Rue de Rivoli. The exhibition areas are on the fifth to ninth floors of the building. The lower floors, which will include a library, storage and meeting rooms, will open soon. The huge disadvantage is the poor air circulation on the upper floors, not only hard on summer visitors, but also posing a serious threat to the clothes. Even the fanciful hairdos created for the African-inspired clothes are wilting.
There is a hardbound book in connection with the show with a wealth of photographs and sketches. Not to be missed is a gem of a guide to the show, a 40-page catalogue with small sketches and descriptions of each of the garments. The YSL costume show will remain until the end of October. Those visiting before Sept. 7 will have the chance to see an exhibit of Saint Laurent sketches for the theater next door at the Museum of Decorative Arts. It includes drawings of ballet costume suggestions for Roland Petit that Saint Laurent made to keep himself busy when he had been fired by Christian Dior in 1961, as well as drawings for costumes for theater and ballet that clearly influenced and were influenced by his regular collections. Turbeville: New Angles on Photography
Deborah Turbeville used to like to shoot her fashion photographs in downtown New York, but "Now everyone goes there," says Turbeville, who works almost exclusively in Paris these days. "There are textures in this city, a sense of drama in the streets. Paris looks like a stage set -- beyond the surreal." Turbeville, who does the advertising photographs for Emanuel Ungaro, among others, is currently shooting the Jessica McClintock campaign to be published in Vogue magazine.
Although her fashion photographs have influenced a number of photographers, Turbeville says about herself: "I am not a fashion photographer, I am not a reporter, I am not a portraitist." In fact, she is right -- the clothes are only an accessory, part of the atmosphere of the pictures. A collection of her sensitive and sometimes surreal photos is on exhibit at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris through Sept. 26. Castelbajac's Vestment Interest
Jean-Charles de Castelbajac was a boy he went to church regularly but thought "God was only present in the summertime. In the winter, when it was dark, I didn't think he was there."
So it is no surprise that Castelbajac, in his designs for Catholic priests, made transparent organza chasubles in bright colors over white albs. "It gives the effect of illumination," said Castelbajac. He is pleased that a priest working in one of the French prisons has already requested his design.
Issey Miyake, Andre Courreges and Castelbajac were approached to "rethink the clothes of the priest in the 20th century," said Castelbajac. Miyake refused, and the designs of the other two were exhibited recently near Le Mans, France. From Courreges there is a jumpsuit with elements of an astronaut's suit that is characteristically Courreges.
Castelbajac thinks he was asked to do the vestment designs because the shape of his clothes are always based on the cross. He's not surprised that the request for sketches, which came from a committee of bishops, priests and art historians, did not include a request for a new design for nuns.
"What they wear is already beautiful," he says. Who Has 188 Quarters?
You can buy jeans lots of places in Paris -- since last week, even in the Metro. Three Corsican men are testing a jeans dispensing machine in the metro station at Rue Auber. "It is just the beginning," says Rene Berland, one of the trio, who expects to dispense T-shirts and jogging shoes from machines before long.
The machine, which sold 40 pairs of jeans the first week, offers the most popular Levi's 501 style in 10 sizes at 319 francs, (about $47) which, according to Gerard Maisani, another member of the trio, is a third less than the normal retail cost. Those not knowing their size can strap themselves into a computerized belt that registers their waist measurement and tells their correct jeans size.
The machine takes only credit cards and accepts no returns. "Most people own jeans and know their size. There shouldn't be any reason for a return," insists Maisani.