When I first visited Morocco it hit me the same way as it did Yves St Laurent – I was hooked immediately by the heat, vibrancy and creativity of this richly sensorial and romantic world – for me it felt like home.
“In Morocco, I realised that the range of colours I use was that of the zelliges, zouacs, djellabas and caftans. 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” Yves claimed.
And it seems like the right time to revisit the Morocco of the 70’s, journalists such as Suzy Menkes were all over the new YSL museum opening so I wouldn’t be surprised if we didn’t see more YSL revivalist influences in fashion and home style in the years to come. It fits with the backlash against ‘haters’ and a return to feminine concepts of love, kindness, strength and beauty fitting with a boho ethic.
‘I’m trying to change the attitudes of women within my simple means‘ Yves said, and strived in his work to give women confidence, reassurance and the ability to accept themselves from the outside in.
You can see this in the new museum in his early ‘black’ period in the tailored feminine dinner suits inspired by muse Betty Catroux who was at the press opening, and the feminisation of the ‘Pea Coat’ famously sported by Catherine Deneuve.
Personally, I didn’t really grow up with YSL apart from seeing a bottle of my mothers Rive Gauche kicking around the bathroom, he wasn’t really of my generation, however his work seems so current and on trend now. It reminded me of Alexander McQueen, I was really struck by the imagination and artistry, I think McQueen must have been inspired in part by YSL, the only designer to have a retrospective in his own lifetime. Like McQueen YSL was conceptual – an artist inspired by culture, art and his surroundings in Les Jardins Majorelle.
The new museum takes you through a chronology of his work, curated against a black backdrop. The exhibition dramatises the move from black and sharply elegant tailoring to colour, imagination and creativity inspired by Morocco and the house he and Pierre Berge owned here. Just as striking as his clothes are his accessories which reflect the kind of boldness you see in traditional Berber jewellery. Some of the Berber necklaces are so heavy you would need a crane to lift them on every morning! They suggest a kind of strength of character of the women over here, Moroccan men claim ‘our women are strong‘ (meaning they can carry their own bodyweight I think!).
The museum is a good visit sitting alongside the Villa and Jardins Majorelle which much be the most popular tourist visit here with its striking blue colour and exotic gardens. You can see inspiration from the garden in YSL jackets with appliqué reminiscent of trailing Bougainvillia and glittering dresses inspired by Cactus flowers and Waterlilies.
I spoke to the Creative Director of the Majorelle Gardens shop, he is planning to build and expand upon an already very successful accessory offer retailed in the Majorelle shop. I’m told the shop is the most successful in marrakech and sells more than the LV store here. It is, I can see, a particular hit with cute Asian fashionistas who adorn themselves for cover girls style photo shoots around the city’s beautiful landmarks.
Not having a travel budget the size of these Asian ladies, I opted to get my own dress made by a local tailor for the opening for £30, it was inspired by a 70’s YSL dress I found on the Internet and made from 70 year old Sari fabric which had been left to our family by a Great Great Aunt (an independent lady herself who travelled the world) a fitting tribute then to my Aunt (and Yves).
The new museum opens to the public from 19 October this year, I would recommend visiting the Gardens first and then the new museum which is on Rue Yves Saint Laurent and is open every day from 10am to 6pm except Wednesdays. www.museeyslmarrakech.com.