A tribute to taste: The Yves Saint Laurent Museum opens in Marrakech

Morocco’s new Yves Saint Laurent museum, located on Rue Yves Saint Laurent, Marrakech, has opened its doors to the public.

Dedicated to the work of the great couturier, the’ mYSLm’ will conserve a part of the collection belonging to the Fondation Pierre Bergé–Yves Saint Laurent, which includes 5,000 articles of clothing and 15,000 haute couture accessories, as well as tens of thousands of drawings.

A stone’s throw from the Jardin Majorelle, acquired by Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé in 1980, the new building covers 4,000sqm, featuring a 400sqm permanent exhibition space, designed by Christophe Martin, showcasing the fashion work of Yves Saint Laurent.

In wanting to provide more than just a tribute to the late designer, the mYSLm will include a temporary exhibition space, a research library with over 6,000 volumes, a 150-seat auditorium, and a bookstore and terrace café.

The museum was designed by Studio KO, an architectural firm established by Olivier Marty and Karl Fournier. The two young architects have realised numerous projects in Morocco, Europe and the United States. While leafing through the couturier’s archives, they were struck by curves running alongside straight lines; by the succession of delicate and bold forms that characterised the work of Yves Saint Laurent. The facade of the building appears as an intersection of cubes with a lace-like covering of bricks, creating patterns that recall the weft and warp of fabric. As with the lining of a couture jacket, the interior is radically different: velvety, smooth and radiant.

Studio KO explained: “The musée YVES SAINT LAURENT marrakech combines two worlds that we are very familiar with and that are dear to our hearts: fashion and Morocco. Since the founding of our architectural firm, we have worked in this country that so inspired Yves Saint Laurent. It is with great joy that we have worked on this ambitious project, and contributed in our way to the history and prestige of the most influential fashion designer of the 20th century.”

The graphic identity of the museum was handled by Philippe Apeloig, who in 2010 designed the poster for the Yves Saint Laurent retrospective at the Petit Palais in Paris. The museum’s logo reflects the contemporary building in addition to referencing Mondrian and Morocco, two important influences on the work of Yves Saint Laurent.

The opening of the Marrakech museum coincided with the inauguration of the Musée Yves Saint Laurent Paris, located at the former fashion house and current headquarters of the Fondation Pierre Bergé – Yves Saint Laurent. The two new museums are set to attract those passionate about fashion and art, as well as a broader public interested in discovering the revolutionary fashion work of Yves Saint Laurent and its importance to the history of the 20th century.

Speaking in 1983, Yves Saint Laurent said of his adopted homeland: “In Morocco, I realised that the range of colours I use was that of the zelliges, zouacs, djellabas and caftans. The boldness seen since then in my work, I owe to this country, to its forceful harmonies, to its audacious combinations, to the fervour of its creativity. This culture became mine, but I wasn’t satisfied with absorbing it; I took, transformed and adapted it.”

Find out more: www.museeyslmarrakech.com