Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Magical Mystery Tour Continues: Yves Saint Laurent

All the museums are blooming with new exhibits lately...

Today's adventure was the Yves Saint Laurent exhibit at the de Young. (Hey. I got a membership. Pipe down.) To look at me, you would never guess a love of fashion. My signature pieces are from designers like Eddie Bauer, REI, and Gap. I walk around in either steel toes, tennis shoes, or waterproof closed-toed mesh sandles. I wear leather jewelry most of the time. I carry bags that act as backpacks or totes, never as fashion statements, unless the statement is, "This girl knows nothing about fashion."

But I have made many misjudgments of my own in my time. I remember one particular incident where I was talking with my grandmother about something my mother had said to me, that she preferred quiet. "How can she say that?" I asked my grandmother. "She's always yelling at me or Mike. I think she likes noise."

My grandmother, who lived with us until I was 16, explained that my mother was noisy for practical purposes, but deeply loved the peace, regardless of whether or not it would ever serve her.

So, for practical purposes and most of my adventures, I wear casual/outdoor.

For dreaming, I look at designers like Yves Saint Laurent.

And what dreams! For the exhibit the museum has set up the storyline in groupings of wardrobe purpose. There is a room of women's suits, enhancing the female line, displaying male power, and giving to the practicality of pockets and such to make a woman able to do her job without reaching for her purse.

In another room we see a collection of Saint Laurent's homages to artists. Suit jackets with prints of Van Gough in sequins, dresses with a fine but loose outline of Matisse, and other dresses have whole portraits of Picasso stitched on the breast-plate. Saint Laurent also made homages to writers--Proust with a spring flower print (I didn't get it, but then I have never read Proust), and a bridal dress in the tradition of Shakespeare (my FAVORITE, of course--I nearly wept at that one).

Yes, there were also the outfits that won't look right if you sneeze or twist a certain way, and I'm sure all of the mannikins are, at most, a size two. But the artistry, and the designer's willingness to get the inspiration from anywhere--travel, nature, art of all kinds--were spectacular. This guy died this year. I'm sure that he was flamboyant and gay and far from my Midwest views of masculine, but LOOK WHAT FUN HE HAD. And all of his stuff is in my backyard, in a glass and copper closet, only three or four blocks to the north of me. What a great gift of my own private peace.

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