• France's news in English

Iconic Yves Saint Laurent dress snapped up

AFP · 1 Dec 2011, 15:42

Published: 01 Dec 2011 15:42 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

A Mondrian dress by iconic French designer Yves Saint Laurent was snapped up on Thursday, star lot of a vintage sale held half a century after his fashion house was founded.

Sold for £30,000 (€35,000, $47,000) the dress was part of a capsule collection of nine Saint Laurent pieces, dating from 1962 to 1970, at a Christie's clothing sale stretching from the 18th century to the 1980s.

Patricia Frost, director of Christie's textile department, described the dress, inspired by the work of Dutch abstract artist Piet Mondrian, as "a magic carpet piece, it takes you right back to 1966."

The London sale came just ahead of the 50-year anniversary of the founding of Saint Laurent's fashion house, on December 4, 1961. The couture house closed in 2002 when the designer stood down.

Since his death in 2008, the mystique of Saint Laurent's name has sent prices flying at a string of record-smashing auctions of art and belongings accumulated by the designer and his partner Pierre Berge over the decades.

Christie's intended the sale in part as a retrospective of Saint Laurent's early career, at Dior from 1957 then striking out on his own aged 25. 

"Saint Laurent lives on everywhere you look," said Berge, now 81, who co-founded his fashion house and helped run it for 40 years. "The most important are perhaps those you notice less," he told AFP.

"Saint Laurent completely defined his era. Everyone has a Saint Laurent – although they often don't realise it," said Berge, who today runs a foundation created in Saint Laurent's memory.

"He invented an entire masculine world that he fitted to women's bodies: tuxedos, sahara jackets, the sailor's jacket."

Berge's foundation has also sent travelling exhibitions of his work around the world, from Paris last year, to Madrid at the moment, and Denver, Colorado a few weeks from now. 

Story continues below…

From theatre to dance and cinema, Saint Laurent cultivated close ties with the arts, creating tribute collections from Matisse to Cocteau, Van Gogh or Picasso, as well as his Mondrian and pop art dresses.

Other pieces in the Christie's sale included an Indian-inspired green brocade coat, from Saint Laurent's first own-name catwalk show in January 1962, that was snapped on the cover of Elle magazine that year, and sold for £2,000.

"Saint Laurent's clothes happen to make people look wonderful but they also have more depth to them," Frost said. "They should be looked at more as works of art. They are not really for wearing, they are more for museums."

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Today's headlines
Where exactly in France are Calais migrants being sent?
Photo: AFP

Here's where the 8,000 migrants in Calais are heading.

The annoying questions only a half French, half British person can answer
Photo: Beery/Flickr/AFP

Being half French, half British is means you get asked a lot of questions (and some of them can be a little annoying.)

Migrants bussed out of Calais Jungle to all corners of France
All photos: AFP

Hundreds of migrants are being bussed across France on Monday ahead of the demolition of the Jungle camp.

The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
A Prophet. Photo: YouTube Screengrab

Looking for something to watch?

The must-see French films of the millennium - Part Two
Rust and Bone. Photo: YouTube Screengrab

The newest French films you need to see before you die (or alternatively when you get some spare time).

Election Watch
Presidential hopeful reckons a pain au chocolat is 10 cents

So France happily takes the pastry out of him.

French ministry of defence officials die in plane crash
Screengrab: eddydeg/Twitter

The French Ministry of Defence officials were killed on Monday when a light aircraft went down on the island of Malta.

Revealed: The ten most stolen cars in France
A Smart car in Paris. Photo: JR_Paris/Flickr

Thieves in France are getting a taste for luxury cars, it seems.

Analysis - France migrant crisis
Migrant crisis won't end with Calais 'Jungle' closure
All Photos: AFP

The Jungle camp may be being cleared but this won't be the end of the migrant crisis in France.

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie 'to sell their French chateau'
All photos: AFP

Want to live where Brangelina got married?

The annoying questions only a half French, half Brit can answer
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Forget Brangelina's chateau - here are nine others you've got to see
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
jobs available