The Portrait of Yves Saint Laurent by Andy Warhol

HiSTORY OF AN ICON - 15.04.2016
It’s an iconic painting, incarnating all the aura of the 70s without missing a beat… This series of portraits of Yves Saint Laurent by Andy Warhol, done in 1974, captures all the pop couture essence of the couturier that invented ready-to-wear - the whole thing through the lens of the master of Pop Art.
The Portrait of Yves Saint Laurent by Andy Warhol
Yves Saint Laurent was an artist; this couturier wasn’t content just to design clothing and silhouettes. Yves Saint Laurent brought art into fashion and, in the same movement, edified a style that liberated and empowered women. This new approach to fashion is nourished by pop culture. Yves Saint Laurent didn’t want fashion to be fixed, nor was he satisfied with propriety. He was at the forefront of a generation of artists and intellectuals on a quest to promote movement, life, spontaneity; in short, liberty and beauty in its purest form. He was one of the first to introduce art into fashion and to pave the way for “sub-genres”.
That’s why Yves Saint Laurent took inspiration for his collections from colonized peoples, from nightlife, in the street, from the people who surrounded him, from Loulou de la Falaise to Betty Catroux. Just like Andy Warhol, who liked to gather the strongest actors on the international artistic scene in the Factory - not to mention their shared love of parties and the underground scene, from Studio 54 to Sept in Paris. They were both artists, lovers of life and of the night. The story told by the clothing became more important than the cut of the clothing itself. Ever since, it was the image that led the dance. Saint Laurent had a new master: Andy Warhol.
Sometimes, Andy Warhol screen printed portraits of his friends. Without knowing it, or perhaps knowing it very well, Andy Warhol revisited the tradition of official celebrity portraits… but in a Pop Art vein! Starting in 1968, he debuted a special series of celebrity portraits. Jackie Kennedy, Willy Brandt, or Mick Jagger… Starting with Yves’ Polaroids, Warhol created his mythic portrait of the French couturier. He had before him the photo of Yves Saint Laurent naked in front of the lens of JeanLoup Sieff, taken for the launch of his first men’s fragrance. Then came this series of four portraits: in a style both retro and brown-nosing, colorful and reflective, Yves becomes the stuff dreams are made of. You can feel all of Warhol’s empathy for his model… Finally, this series is the one that establishes “Warhol style” - bright colors, graphic technique, zoomed in on the subject. And now Yves’ imaginary atmosphere will be set for eternity: a vibrant, hybrid, luxurious, sublime, and modest being all at once.

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