This October marked the opening of the Yves Saint Laurent art museum in Marrakech, located at the site of the eponymous designer’s former holiday villa.
The aim of the museum is to memorialise the designer’s 56 year career, by permanently exhibiting some of the brand’s most defining works across the decades. The museum centres this exhibit around five of the themes which most greatly influenced Saint-Laurent’s work: Masculine/Feminine; Black, Africa, and Morocco; Gardens; Art; and Imaginary Voyages. Some of the designer’s most enduring pieces will be on display, including “Le Smoking”, and the Mondrian dress.
The opening of the Marrakech site is twinned with that of the opening of an Yves Saint Laurent museum in Paris, where he lived for most of his life. The museum’s Parisian counterpart showcases much of the designer label’s foundational work - the classic, sleek designs upon which it built its reputation. However, it was upon visiting Marrakech in 1966 that Saint-Laurent infused the extravagant colour of the Moroccan city into his work, and this is memorialised in the exhibits. In his own words: “before Marrakech, everything was black”, highlighting the impact that Moroccan culture had upon the French couturier’s work. Hence, the Paris and Moroccan sites together act as a showcase of the dynamic artistic progression the designer experienced during his career.
In addition to permanently housing an exhibition dedicated to the designer, the museum offers space for regular temporary exhibits, and also acts as a home to a research library consisting of over 6,000 books.