This month two museums dedicated to YSL opened in Paris and Marrakech. Initiated by the late Pierre Bergé himself, they are a celebration of the work of YSL with collections comprising some 5,000 Haute Couture garments and 15,000 accessories, all displayed alongside archive photographs and sketches to provide a powerful insight into the minds behind the designs.
With the Marrakech site located in a garden Yves Saint Laurent and Bergé saved from development in 1980, the Paris museum is hosted in the historical couture house, 5 Avenue Marceau, where he designed and created his work for almost 30 years.
Working with Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé for over 15 years as artistic director has left an unmistakable mark on the style of designer Jérôme Faillant-Dumas. He shares some of what he has learned today.
As art director for YSL for over 15 years, what was your biggest achievement during this time?
It was a great privilege to work so closely for Messrs Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé. All the projects that I worked with them on as artistic director, for perfume, makeup, skincare and later for ad campaigns for accessories and ready-to-wear, as well as those for the Fashion House, were extraordinary.
What was the most creative design tip you learnt from Saint Laurent himself?
To pay close attention to the requirement. And also that any project has a meaning in relation to the house Yves Saint Laurent, and therefore in relation to himself.
How have those 15 years influenced your own personal design?
There must be a legitimacy, a history specific to each project. And never pretend to be someone else.
In a few words describe what the YSL museums mean to you?
The Marrakech and Paris museums are Pierre Bergé’s willingness to perpetuate the genius of YSL, through everything he did for Haute Couture, ready-to-wear, perfume, and many other things in service of French culture.
How important is it to showcase the work of YSL in today’s design world?
What is the most important, is to understand that YSL gave women freedom and power through his designs.
What is your favourite piece of art?
It’s difficult to answer this question, because between the Mondrian collection and the Russian collection, every artwork he presented us was to serve the femininity and the look.
What are your top three pieces of advice for young designers starting out?
The look -allure- the outstanding quality and timelessness.
In your opinion, what do you think the next design trend will be?
It’s always difficult for me to answer this question. Indeed, we must keep in mind that fashion today is over marketed. And, I hope that in the future we will see again, or will have young designers who want to give to tomorrow’s woman, new powers in term of taste and elegance, while remaining contemporary.
About interior trends, and because I was very influenced by Yves Saint Laurent’s different houses, I like to say that I really appreciate decorators who dare to mix styles with taste and balance. I don’t like what I call the “total look” (meaning one style only). And I’m sure that an artwork, or a contemporary object, can take its own value within a 18th century surrounding, and vice versa.
YSL taught me what it means to be daring with colour. There is nothing more boring than a beige apartment or a white house.
Which are your top three restaurants in Paris?
Le Grand Véfour, Le Duc and La Cagouille
Who do you have your eye on in the emerging design world?
Several houses, but Sarah Burton’s work for Alexander McQueen is particularly moving to me.
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