yves saint laurent’s scandalous 71 collection is back
The designer’s war-referencing couture collection, which shocked the fashion world when it was first shown in 1971, will be on display again in Paris from tomorrow.
In January 1971, Yves Saint Laurent presented his spring/summer couture collection to 180 clients and journalists. The short dresses with deep v-necks, wedge soles, turbans and a heavy make-up provoked horrified reactions. References to women's wardrobes during the Second World War were too obvious in this so-called Quarante or Libération collection, bringing back the dark days of occupation. "Truly hideous" said Eugenia Sheppard in the New York Times. Among other terrible comments, one could read: "Yves Saint Laurent reviews World War II 'Floozy Look'", or even, "A sad reminder of Nazi days". Yves was actually inspired by his friend Paloma Picasso. In the 70s, she was short of money and had to find clothes at the flea market where many dresses from the 30s and 1940s were sold. After a unanimous boycott at the time, everyone now agrees that the 1971 collection was a high fashion moment in Saint Laurent's career as well as in the fashion timeline by launching the retro style.
Yves Saint Laurent 1971: la collection du scandale goes on display tomorrow and runs until July 19 at Fondation Pierre Bergé and Yves Saint Laurent.
Text Oscar Heliani