A question of style: Goppion at the Yves Saint Laurent Museum

Opinion – 03 Oct 2017

The genius of the fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent, his journey of creations from sketch to cloth, his collections, together with accessories and personal items of the celebrated couturier.

Forty years of creations collected in two museums in Paris and Marrakesh; telling the story of one of the most renowned fashion creators of the 20th century.

In Paris, the Yves Saint Laurent Museum will open its rooms on October 3rd, 2017 in the historic building on Avenue Marceau, where since 1974, the art-loving designer founded his famous Maison, imagined his creations and collected art together with his life partner Pierre Bergé, who passed away just days after the opening. The Museum is to exhibit a collection of more than 700 works of art, including paintings by Picasso, Matisse, Van Gogh, etc. When the historic Maison closed in 2002, the Avenue Marceau building became home to the Foundation and is now also one of the most eagerly awaited museums in Paris.

It will be curated by Olivier Flaviano, the museum's director, Aurelie Samuel, art historian and conservator who worked at Musée Guimet for more than 15 years, with scenography by Nathalie Criniere and with interior designer Jacques Grange, former creators of many of the fashion house's shows. The exhibition opening in the capital of fashion will be "a collection of knowledge, acknowledgement and collective consciousness". The imposing collection of couture belongs to the Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint Laurent Foundation, now boasting some 5000 items, includes pieces created when Saint Laurent was still an assistant to Christian Dior, before becoming artistic director of his own label.

Like so many illustrious clients of the past seeking the perfect garment, the visitor accesses the museum through the fashion house's famous entrance before then getting lost amongst emblematic examples of the Saint Laurent heritage, such as Le Smoking, iconic trench coats, and Saharienne safari wear. The itinerary extends into legendary stage costume creations, jewellery he used as essential accessories, and that long, inspirational dialogue opened with artists and writers from Mondrian to Picasso, from van Gogh to Proust, all examples of the man's remarkable gifts to fashion.

Selected by the Client for its ability to create aesthetically refined yet functional, large-scale display cases with durable performance, Goppion took on the engineering and construction of the museum's huge vertical and cabinet display cases, to protect and display the most sensitive works of the collection.

The huge mural display case ensures the structural solidity and climatic stability necessary for displaying the prototypes, croquis sketches of clothes and accessories, fragments of fabric and material as precious as they are fragile, in a diverse and variable space that will over time be able to offer a variety of exhibition formats. The massive sliding doors allow the curators maximum functionality and optimum use of glass and exhibition space.

The largest of the Goppion display cases has the scale and feel of an orchestral rehearsal room.
Its articulated, angular form wraps around the viewer and immerses you in the magical refinement of the Maison YSL creations.

All display cases are framed with adjustable, remote-controlled lighting, for the correct intensity, and have adjustable climate control.

The cabinet display case, also of impressive scale, is integrated within the scenery, giving the illusion of being suspended between two walls.

A small wall-mounted "casket" completes the display and is for exhibiting some of the more unusual YSL items on rotation, with lighting enhancement via a system of adjustable micro-spots.