YSL + Halston: Fashioning the ’70s

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Two of our favorite designers meet on the floor of The Museum at FIT - Halston and Yves Saint Laurent - in the newest exhibit entitled "Fashioning the 70s" that runs now until April 18th, 2015. The museum has done a tremendous job of putting together both the exhibit and supporting materials and we strongly urge you to take the time to watch the video above where co-curators, Patricia Mears and Emma McClendon, discuss their approach to organizing the exhibition.  You can also browse through the online exhibit if you are far from New York. 

We pulled part of the background found on FIT's website for you too:

"Yves Saint Laurent + Halston: Fashioning the ’70s celebrates the two designers who defined the sexy and glamorous fashions of the 1970s. This is the first exhibition to juxtapose their work and analyze the way they dealt with similar themes and aesthetics during the height of their careers. Both designers are equally represented by the approximately 80 ensembles and 20 accessories that are arranged thematically in an environment designed to evoke the style of this singular, dynamic era in history.

Drawn exclusively from the holdings of The Museum at FIT, the exhibition offers a unique perspective on two of the best-known fashion designers in modern history. The museum’s collections hold the Halston archives—the most comprehensive records of his work in the world—as well as 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. It is worth noting that the first major retrospective exhibition on Halston was organized at the museum in 1991 by the late curator Richard Martin.

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. They 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........" Click here to read the rest ...

PS Need your own piece of fashion history? Shop our current selection of Halston pieces here and our large collection of Yves Saint Laurent here


Installation, Yves Saint Laurent + Halston: Fashioning the 70s.
Exhibition design, Kimberly Ackert, 2015. Photographer: Eileen Costa © MFIT

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