One of our team was recently in Marrakech, and on the top of their list of things to explore was the new Musée Yves Saint Laurent just down the road from the designers former home Jardin Majorelle.
Fifteen years have passed by since the last Yves Saint Laurent runway show at the Centre Pompidou in Paris and the closing of the couture house that bears his name. Fifteen years during which the couturier’s heritage has been preserved by the Fondation Pierre Bergé – Yves Saint Laurent, whose mission is to safeguard and share a unique collection, Yves Saint Laurent’s creative work.
During forty years, Yves Saint Laurent developed a style that was his own. The many iconic garments he designed have become part of the history of the 20th century. The pea coat, trench coat, ‘smoking’ suit and safari jacket became integral to a woman’s everyday wardrobe. At the same time, Yves Saint Laurent was the last of the grand couturiers of haute couture. The two museums bearing his name reveal he was a great artist of his generation.
Located very near the Jardin Majorelle, acquired by Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé in 1980, the Musée Yves Saint Laurent Marrakech occupies a new 4,000 m² building. It includes a 400m² permanent exhibition space devoted to the work of Yves Saint Laurent and designed by scenographer Christophe Martin.
The museum also includes a hall for temporary exhibitions, a research library with over 5,000 volumes, a 140-seat auditorium, bookshop and terrace café which was modelled on his atelier in Paris.
The French architecture practice Studio KO were commissioned to design the space. Founded and headed by Karl Fournier and Olivier Marty, they have overseen numerous residential and public projects in Morocco, the UK and the USA.
While studying the couturier’s archives, Studio KO became intrigued by the duality between curved and straight lines, and between loose and precise approaches to cutting fabric. The facade of the building appears as an intersection of cubes with a lace-like covering of bricks, creating patterns that recall the weft and warp of fabric. As with the lining of a couture jacket, the interior is radically different, velvety, smooth and radiant.
As well as Morocco, Mondrian was a key influence on the work of Yves Saint Laurent. These references informed the design of the museum’s logo and graphic identity, which was overseen by Philippe Apeloig, who designed the poster for the 2010 Yves Saint Laurent retrospective at the Petit Palais in Paris.
Fifty pieces chosen from the collection have been displayed around themes close to Yves Saint Laurent, Masculine/Feminine, Black, Africa and Morocco, Imaginary Voyages, Gardens and Art, offering an original interpretation of the couturier’s work using garments that, until now, have rarely been seen by the public. The pieces on display will be rotated regularly, in order to ensure their conservation and to constantly revive the exhibition.
As well as displaying the collection of clothing, the museum will also displays tens of thousands of drawings and photos charting the history of the fashion house.
Christophe Martin has highlighted the displayed pieces against a black and minimal background. The looks are seen alongside immersive audiovisual elements, sketches, photographs, runway shows, films, voices and music that by offering a sort of dialogue with the garments, reveal the couturier’s creative process and invite us into his world.
The museum is open every day from 10am – 6pm (except Wednesdays)
Rue Yves Saint Laurent, 40000 Marrakech
Nicky’s World May 2018