Yves Saint Laurent + Halston: Fashion: Fashioning the 70s at the Museum at FIT
Wedged in between the Flower Power 60s and preppy, sports-inspired 80s, the disco era of the 1970s was wrought with residual hints of hippie chic and an emerging punk culture. As emblazoning new designers engaged in exploratory endeavors, Algerian-born Yves Saint Laurent and American Roy Halston Frowick defined and developed fashion in the 'decade fashion forgot.' Until April 18th, The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology presents Yves Saint Laurent + Halston: Fashioning the 70s, an exhibit comparing select works of two designers with careers on parallel paths and an overlapping aesthetic in the stylistically stagnant 70s. Keep reading for a look inside the exhibit...
YSL + Halston; Comparative Timeline from 1952 to 1984
Both Halston and Saint Laurent entered the fashion industry in the 50s, assisting notable designers before building namesake brands. Halston's signature minimalism emphasized comfort through materials like cashmere and ultra suede. Saint Laurent popularized the beatnik style and became the first couturier to offer pret-a-porter. Both shaped the 70s aesthetic by presenting menswear-inspired styles in seasonless silhouettes and by incorporating ethic, "non-western" elements. Aptly adapting to shifting hemlines and trending interests, the designers created couture at the peak of their careers--Rive Gauche by Saint Laurent and flattering elegance made with Halston's couture craftsmanship.
A timeline precedes the exhibit, capturing milestones for both Halston and Saint Laurent. Inside the main room, items are organized along three main themes: menswear, exoticism and historicism. Rounded platforms lining the perimeter carry mannequins showcasing style similarities between the two designers. Multiple inner cubicles compare and contrast pieces representative of the respective designer's forté. YSL's smoking tuxedo and tailored suits sit adjacent to Halston's shirtdress and trench coat sets, exemplifying fashions inspired by menswear. Crepe pajamas by both designers are perched across from dresses with plunging necklines. Colors are skillfully draped throughout the displays without dated wearability.
Halston vs YSL--plunging necklines in parallel evolution
The product of the Museum at FIT's Deputy Director Patricia Mears and Assistant Curator Emma McClendon, Fashioning the 70s takes shape "with such narrow parameters--two designers and one museum's holdings--the exhibition is neither a survey of 1970s fashion, nor a retrospective of either designer's work... instead a curatorial exploration that offers a re-evaluation of Saint Laurent and Halston, set within the larger cultural landscape of the dreamy, indolent, sexy 1970s" [source]. If you happen to be in the area, the exhibit is worth a visit--details here.
Lots of cleavage! (Halston dresses)
Modernizing the pantsuit
Halston beige cape on left, YSL beige hooded ensemble on right
Clear cubes of colorful creativity--Compare and Contrast
Jumper? Pants? or Pantsuit?