The newest exhibit at the Fondation Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint Laurent, is a controversial one highlighting Yves Saint Laurent’s 1971 "Liberation" or "Forties” haute couture collection, inspired by Nazi-occupied Paris in the 1940s. At the time, the collection was met with great criticism and scandal, even called “truly hideous” and a “floozy look” by editors of the ‘70s. It was largely shunned due to its dark inspiration, and some even wondered if it was the end of the designer’s career.
Running from March 19 to July 19, the exhibit entitled The Scandal Collection, will include 40 pieces featuring platform shoes, mini dresses and square shoulders. According to Olivier Saillard, director of the fashion museum at Palais Galliera and curator of the exhibit, the original line contained 80 styles and is seen as the first break from the traditional couture and one of the first steps into contemporary fashion.
“[The Liberation collection] brought down the walls separating haute couture from ready-to-wear and relegated the terms of elegance to the realm of past considerations. The 1971 collection also marked a shift in Yves Saint Laurent’s trajectory. It was the manifesto of a designer who now wanted to be the arbiter of ambiguity. It was a rough draft of the maturity to come. Retrospective in its inspiration, it placed the historical exercise at the heart of the creative process in a new and diﬀerent setting,” Saillard explained in a statement. “Providing the carbon paper for the “retro” fashions that were about to sweep across the second half of the twentieth century, the 1971 collection was the mirror that chased a disappearing world from its frame in order to welcome the reﬂection of a new generation.”