Thinking back to the recent visit to the Roof Gardens, Kensington and the BIBA store – the vibrant centre of 1960s culture in Britain – a quiet revolution was taking place in France too. Musically they were not in the same league as Britain [Liverpool actually] but the French have always seen themselves as leading the world in fashion design on an equal level to their dominance of cooking.
A young designer, Yves St Laurent, completed his stint in the French army [thanks to National Service] and, having been fired by Dior, founded his own fashion label in 1961. His designs were revolutionary, bringing haut couture, if not to the masses then to many “ordinary” people. He founded YSL Rive Gauche where you could buy his design off the peg – many years before the likes of Victoria or Stella – his view of democratising fashion.
Fashions fade, only style is immortal.
Only style makes it possible to surpass fashion
The Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle, is hosting a wonderful exhibition of his work, showing many of his most famous creations and providing an insight into his ways of working. Sponsored by Fenwicks, it’s amazing it’s up here in the frozen north and not at the V&A. Running from mid-July until late October, book now to avoid disappointment.
The café at the museum provides a welcome light lunch or snack.
Museum exhibition YSL at the Bowes Museum