#BookOfTheWeek #14: Yves Saint Laurent’s Studio – Mirror and Secrets

Ever wondered how a famous designer’s studio looks like?

Through this week’s book we take a peek into the sacred space of “the frail and timid prince of haute couture”.

“I couldn’t live without my gypsy atmosphere – the books, the magazines, the papers, the postcards, the enormous disaster…” Yves Saint Laurent

Yves Saint Laurent is one of the greats. One of the most influential designers to this day. Known also as “the lovable gazelle with glasses”, his constant study and devotion to the craft got him on one of the highest pedestals in fashion.

“The shock of school, years of torture that would leave him traumatized for life. […] He swore to himself that he would have his revenge, that he would see his name in lights on the Champs-Elysees.”

He was not yet nineteen when he joined Maison Dior. And only two years after his arrival, Monsieur Dior’s sudden death meant he was now directing the biggest couture house in the world.

After his 1st collection at Dior he met Pierre Berge. They founded their own couture house and the first collection signed YSL was drowned in applause.

And it was then when he could have the fashion house and studio of his dreams.

5 Avenue Marceau – Paris.

The mansion occupied by the couture house from its apogee onwards, and afterwards by the Fondation Pierre Berge – Yves Saint Laurent.

Luxurious, crystal chandeliers, long curtains in emerald velvet & baroque gold fringes, couture chairs, statues.

But then, we open the door marked with a single word: STUDIO. And another world opens.

“The zone where the artist is king.”

Spacious, simple cloth curtains, an entire wall a huge mirror.

“The mirror that covers a whole wall of the studio has always played an important role. It reflects and allows for reflection.” Pierre Berge

The studio was simple in order to allow the creations to be complex. And for the brilliant people that worked there to have room to breathe and think.

Yves Saint Laurent was a genius but the book also uncovers the incredible support he had from the people spending most of their hours alongside him.

“Like a writer, every day he writes as if it were the first time, I could swear it…He does what we were waiting for, every year; I mean that he does what we did not know we were waiting for.”

“So, one festive evening, said Pierre Berge, he who always carried in his shoulders the clouds on which YSL, in his studio, travelled higher and higher, more and more solitarily: “Tonight, you are going to create. Tonight, you will create. Tonight, you are creating.”

The studio was his refuge just as much as his prison, but it also was “a sanctuary, the sacred place where his ‘glorifications of woman’ were ceremonially accomplished […] it was that unique place where all the couturier’s creative powers converged.”

Described by his close ones as “marvelously cluttered”, his studio looks to have been reflecting the person behind the fashion icon.

I think I’ve explained the ‘mirror’ part of the book’s title…as for the ‘secrets’, you must read and reveal all of them yourself. Enjoy!