The Fondation Pierre Bergé – Yves Saint Laurent is currently showcasing an exhibition devoted to Yves Saint Laurent’s Spring/Summer 1971 “Libération/Quarante” collection. This collection outraged Paris and the fashion industry causing a huge scandal because YSL used as inspiration the time of the Nazi occupation in Paris, which was a painful time in French history. This inspiration led him to create short dresses, square shoulders and exaggerated makeup, a look the industry called too “sultry, bitchy, and seductive”.
A few years later,“Libération/Quarante” became the starting point to new trends and fashion during the 1970’s. The Fondation features many of the collection’s beautiful garments and life-sized sketches on the walls with oversized fabric swatches. Garments included his staple wrap dresses, cropped fur jackets, sequins detailing, and suits with padded shoulders. Visitors at the exhibit are given a first-hand look on the failure of the collection through a video presentation of the S/S 1971 fashion show. The audience in the video looks bored, frustrated, and some are even yawning. In their hands we can see brochures with a YSL cover, which details the entire collection; this same brochure was mocked up and given to visitors of the exhibit.
The collection was beautifully crafted and colorful, making it hard to believe that it caused such a scandal in the early 1970’s. The exhibition was short and sweet, but one could spend hours just looking at the impeccable craftsmanship and detailing of the garments. “The Scandal Collection” will be on display until July 19th at the The Fondation Pierre Bergé – Yves Saint Laurent. I recommend checking it out if you would like to see how 70’s fashion was born!