Yves Saint Laurent and Halston are two of the best known fashion designers in modern history. As the dominant clothing creators in Paris and New York during the 1970s, they were superstars. This exhibition, displaying objects drawn solely from the Museum at FIT’s permanent collection, is the first to juxtapose their work and analyze it in that context.
The 1970s was an era of constant change and fragmented fashions, sandwiched between the counterculture 1960s and the opulent 1980s. It was the decade that witnessed the demise of haute couture’s majestic reign and the ascendance of designer-led conglomerates. It saw dress codes grow increasingly relaxed, and high fashion begin to incorporate vintage clothing and non-western dress. When the 70s began, Halston and Saint Laurent were responding to this transformational world with ideas that were remarkably similar. Fashions on display in this exhibition also reveal that such aesthetic overlap was crucial to the designers’ maturation as artists. By mid-decade, Halston and Saint Laurent had taken control: now it was they who were transforming the fashion world. The exhibition highlights the distinctive hallmarks of each designer, such as Saint Laurent’s brilliant use of color, drama, and fantasy, and Halston’s unaralleled mastery of modernism and minimalism.
Yves Saint Laurent + Halston: Fashioning the 70s will travel to the Baker Museum in Naples, FL, and will be on view from November 7, 2015–March 6, 2016. For more information, visit our website.