Pictures of a French fashion icon


Galeri Petronas’ latest showcase celebrates the talents of a style icon, writes Amalina Kamal. WHO could forget the talented designer in his 20s who took the helm at Dior and hypnotised the fashion world with Le Smoking, the women’s tuxedo suit, seen in the mid 1960s as an interesting alternative to the little black dress? Considered one of the most iconic looks, it still receives attention today.

Yves Saint Laurent was a fashion phenomenon and his legacy of portraying women effortlessly, through minimal and androgynous styles, had earned him a sacred place in the pages of society’s couture journals. The late designer had long predicted that his creations would stand the test of time (without any objections from the style conscious few) so it was only fitting to honour one of the greatest couturier of the 20th century with a documentation of his work through beautifully-shot photographs.

“Fashion dies, but style remains.” In conjunction with the annual Le French Festival 2016, Alliance Francaise in partnership with the French embassy, is hosting an exclusive exhibition at Galeri Petronas. It features an extensive spread of the late French photojournalist Pierre Boulat’s five weeks of experience trailing Yves Saint Laurent. It was during a time when Saint Laurent was engaged with efforts to launch his own maison after three years as the head designer at Christian Dior.

Boulat (who, on another note, also followed Saint Laurent and his partner Pierre Berge, taking their pictures on and off for some 30 years) captured drawing sessions, model fittings and a few private moments of exhaustion during the final hours before the runway reveal. CLOSE FRIENDSHIP Both Boulat and Saint Laurent maintained a very close relationship over the years and this not only gave Boulat unlimited backstage access, but also the privacy of the legendary designer’s home.

There are a total of 46 black and white images, many of which have never been displayed before. Petronita (the association for wives and female staff of Petronas) president Datin Azura Ahmad Tajuddin said: “Style, sophistication and fashion are synonymous with French culture and the exhibition presents a unique insight into an important milestone of the fashion culture.

The innovative spirit and pursuit of excellence displayed by both Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Boulat resonate with our own relentless spirit. Hence, it gives us great pleasure to provide this avenue for society to engage with and promote deeper understanding of diverse cultures through the universal language of art.” The Yves Saint Laurent, The Birth Of A Legend exhibition runs until June 25. Opening hours are from 10am to 8pm. Admission is free.

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