Yves Saint Laurent and Morocco
Morocco — and the city of Marrakesh in particular — was a regular retreat for Yves Saint Laurent for many decades. With its vivid colours and strong light, Marrakesh became a rich source of inspiration for the iconic fashion designer, while his legacy to the city lives on in his restoration of the beautiful Jardin Majorelle.
image source https://www.thenational.ae/lifestyle/luxury/yves-saint-laurent-s-marrakech-connections-1.628534
Yves Saint Laurent’s first encounter with Morocco in 1966 seems to have the quality of love at first sight: when the sun came out at the end of a first, rainy stay in Marrakesh, he and his partner Pierre Bergé were so taken with the colours and light of the city that they bought a house during that very visit. This would be the start of a lifelong connection with the city, and with Morocco, that allowed Saint Laurent a retreat and space to create, but also inspired the colours and shapes of his designs.
Yves Saint Laurent in his garden in Marrakech in a 1980 issue of Vogue. (Photographed by Horst P. Horst, Vogue, August 1980)
It was here that Saint Laurent retreated for a fortnight twice a year, not only to entertain friends from creative and bohemian circles — such as Andy Warhol and members of the Rolling Stones — but also to work on designs for his haute couture collections. The vivid, intense colours he saw in the city were an acknowledged inspiration for his work. He was inspired by the clothes he saw there, the caftans and djellabas which can be seen to influence some of his designs.
Yves Saint Laurent with Marian McEvoy, future editor of Elle Decor, image source http://amazigh24.ma/yves-saint-laurent-fou-de-culture-amazigh-photo-jour/
Saint Laurent and Bergé also spent time elsewhere in Morocco, notably in Tangier, but it’s Marrakesh with which they are most closely associated. In 1974 they bought a villa near to the Jardin Majorelle, a tranquil garden which they visited frequently. When the garden was threatened by developers in 1980, they bought it themselves and restored it, turning it into an exquisite oasis. Now a new museum nearby, open in October 2017, showcases the work of this celebrated fashion designer, exploring the ways in which his ongoing fascination with Marrakesh informed his work.
Yves Saint Laurent Museum Opens in Marrakech, musée YVES SAINT LAURENT marrakech. image source https://www.nieuwsblad.be/cnt/dmf20170822_03029236