Yves Saint Laurent made no secret of his love affair with Morocco. The Algerian-born couturier was so taken with the Jardin Majorelle on his first visit to Marrakech in 1966 that he bought it some twenty years later, and the captivating country continued to be a leitmotif in his work.
“In Morocco, I realised that the range of colours I use was that of the zelliges, djellabas and kaftans,” he reflected in 1983. “The boldness seen since then in my work, I owe to this country, to its forceful harmonies, to its audacious combinations, to the fervour of its creativity.” He added, “This culture became mine, but I wasn’t satisfied with absorbing it; I took, transformed and adapted it.”
It’s fitting then, that a new museum dedicated to his work opened on Rue Yves Saint Laurent – where else? – in Marrakech. As well as spotlighting his most recognisable calling cards – including the Mondrian dress and ‘Le Smoking’ – the exhibition endeavours to explore his fascination with Morocco. “It is not a retrospective, but rather a voyage to the heart of his work,” explains the Musée Yves Saint Laurent Marrakech Scenographer Christophe Martin enigmatically. Fifty iconic looks – which will be displayed on rotation from the 1,000 couture garments and accessories stored on site – are shown alongside sketches, photographs, runway shows, films, and interviews to give us a deeper understanding of his creative process.
In addition, a library will house a collection of rare books on Morocco dating from 17th century, and each year the museum’s gallery will exhibit the work of a photographer who lensed Saint Laurent so his illustrious legacy lives on.
• For more information, visit museeyslmarrakech.com
Photos: Reginald Gray and Nicolas Mathéus