Paris by Yves Saint Laurent
Yves Saint Laurent used to say, "I have above all been an immobile traveller, which has allowed my imagination to develop". Let's follow in the footsteps of this iconic figure of haute couture for a stroll enhanced by historical curiosities.
It was in Paris that the couturier cultivated this imagination, on a journey through the capital of the sixties and seventies.
Let's begin our walk where it all began, on Avenue Montaigne, not far from the Champs-Elysées and the Hôtel du Rond-Point des Champs-Elysées. It was on this very chic street in the 8th arrondissement, at number 32 to be exact, that Christian Dior set up shop in 1946. At the end of the 1950s, Yves Saint Laurent was employed there as Christian Dior's assistant, before becoming Artistic Director of the famous label. He then founded his own house in the early 1960s. It was the beginning of a great success story. Let's take a closer look at number 12: if it could talk, this building could boast of having successively housed the actress Marlène Dietrich, the Shah of Iran Reza Pahlavi, and Prince Rainier of Monaco.
Let's continue on rue Spontini, in the 16th arrondissement. Imagine that it was here, in this private mansion at 30 bis, that Yves Saint Laurent's first collection was presented, in 1962! This collection spawned the caban, the trench coat, the dinner jacket and the trouser suit, all iconic pieces today. In 1974, the company moved to 5 avenue Marceau, a Second Empire mansion. This is now home to the Yves Saint Laurent Paris museum. It retraces the couturier's work through a retrospective tour and themed temporary exhibitions. For a well-deserved break, head to Prunier, on avenue Victor Hugo, where Saint Laurent and his partner Pierre Bergé used to have their napkin rings. This prestigious restaurant with its green mosaic façade was designed by some of the greatest names in Art Deco (Paul Binet, Alexandre Labouret, Mathurin Méheut). It was also the setting for the film Yves Saint Laurent, released in 2014. Try the house's signature speciality: baguette and caviar!
Let's continue our digestive stroll in the 6th arrondissement, a stone's throw from Luxembourg, to discover number 21 rue de Tournon. This was the first Saint Laurent outlet on the Left Bank, opened in 1966 in the presence of Catherine Deneuve. Take the opportunity to admire the superb caryatids and columns of the building at number 8, listed as a historic monument. Yves Saint Laurent was a man with a passion for art, to say the least. To gauge this consuming passion, we end our visit at 55 rue de Babylone, in the flat that the couturier and Pierre Bergé lived in from the late 1970s to 2008. An incredible collection of masterpieces, including paintings, sculptures and furniture by Goya, Andy Wharol, Matisse and Mondrian, is hidden away in this 600 m2 duplex. To finish on a high note, let's take a soothing break in the flat's large private garden (400 m2!). And to think that it was here, in the midst of hundred-year-old trees, that the couturier came to find inspiration and draw his sketches.
To complete our walk, let's come full circle and return to the historic birthplace of Saint Laurent. Let's sit down for a drink at the Rond-Point restaurant in the 8th arrondissement, very close to the Hôtel du Rond-point des Champs-Elysées. You'll bump into actors from the Théâtre du Rond-Point right next door!
Published on 22/11/2023