Yves Saint Laurent + Halston: Fashioning the '70s | SENATUS

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Yves Saint Laurent + Halston: Fashioning the '70s

2 January 2015
Start: 06 Feb 2015
End: 18 Apr 2015

Location: Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT)
Address: 560 Fashion Avenue, New York, NY 10018, United States

By Natalie White

Yves Saint Laurent + Halston: Fashioning the '70s is an exhibition that celebrates the two designers who defined the sexy and glamorous fashions of the 1970s.

Presented by The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), this is the first exhibition to juxtapose the work of Yves Saint Laurent (1936 - 2008) and Roy Halston Frowick (1932 - 1990), known as Halston, and analyze the way they dealt with similar themes and aesthetics during the height of their careers.

The showcase offers a unique perspective on two of the best-known fashion designers in modern history.

Both designers are equally represented by the approximately 80 ensembles and 20 accessories, drawn exclusively from the archives of the museum, arranged thematically in an environment designed to evoke the style of this singular, dynamic era in history.

The museum's collections hold the Halston archives which is the most comprehensive records of his work in the world. In fact, the first major retrospective exhibition on Halston was organized at the museum in 1991 by the late curator Richard Martin.

The institution also hosts a vast array of significant Yves Saint Laurent pieces donated by important clients, fashion editors, friends, and colleagues of Saint Laurent. These include Lauren Bacall, Marina Schiano, Aimée de Heeren, Mary Russell, and Tina Chow.

The 1970s was a time of momentous change in fashion, not only in the look of clothes but also in the way they were designed, made, distributed, and consumed. This dichotomous decade — sandwiched between the counterculture 1960s and the opulent 1980s — witnessed the demise of haute couture's majestic reign and the simultaneous ascension of designer-led conglomerates.

The shifting sands of style during the 1970s accelerated the relaxation of fashion codes. Eclectic individuality blended with a somber modernity that mirrored the dour economic mood of the decade's early years. Perhaps because the 1970s was a period of such transition and uncertainty, its fashions are among the most challenging in modern fashion history to assess.

No two designers defined and dominated the decade more than Yves Saint Laurent and Halston.

These two were the era's most influential and celebrated clothing creators, becoming celebrities in their own right. Both have been the subject of countless books, articles, films, and exhibitions. Yet for all the justifiable attention and study they have received, the fashions created by Saint Laurent and Halston have not before been directly compared in an in-depth, significant way.

Yves Saint Laurent + Halston investigates how Yves Saint Laurent and Halston arrived at their now iconic styles by engaging with similar themes of menswear, exoticism, and historicism during the 1970s.

While today they are considered diametrically opposed — Saint Laurent is viewed as the great colorist who imbued his clothes with a sense of drama and fantasy, while Halston is seen as the era's master of modernism and minimalism — the aesthetic similarities between their designs during the 1970s, particularly at the start of the decade, are undeniable.

As their styles matured, Saint Laurent and Halston gradually diverged so that by the end of the decade, their respective output contained looks that were distinct to each designer.

For more information, go to //www.fitnyc.edu/23056.asp

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