The most striking feeling I got from getting up close and personal with YSL’s work was how relevant his clothing still is today, or, rather, how much designers are influenced by his work. The exhibition as a whole was more than just a retrospective of a designer’s work, but visual evidence of who Saint Laurent was and the impact he made, both on fashion and society. This is what prompted Heinrich, who saw the exhibition in Paris a little over a year ago, to get it to Denver. “When I saw the show for the very first time in Paris, I immediately loved it from the visuals to the design to the layout, but as well from the narrative of it,” he said. “I called them and a few days later I flew over and I really tried to make the strong case that this Libeskind (Dainel Libeskind, the architect of the DAM) building is the right frame for this and quite honestly it looks so much more contemporary than it did in Paris.”
It did look oddly contemporary and while Saint Laurent’s deigns may not all have the overtly artistic quality of, say, Alexander McQueen’s, they make more sense in an art museum than one might expect. “One of my favorite definitions of what is art is: what an artist does does,” said Heinrich. “That’s very broad but it’s very clear that Yves Saint Laurent was an artist.”
Yves Saint Laurent: The Retrospectiveis on view from March 25, 2012 through July 8, 2012 at the Denver Art Museum.