Thursday, March 6, 2008

Casta Diva

Yves Saint Laurent

Yves Saint Laurent (French, born Algeria, 1936). Ensemble, fall/winter 1983–84. Coat: yellow silk faille. Dress: black silk velvet. Anonymous Gift, 2006 (2006.420.51a,b).

Among the most dramatic pieces from Yves Saint Laurent’s fall/winter 1983–84 collection of haute couture is this diva-esque coat originally shown over a simple black column. In a direct reference to the voluminous evening coats from the golden age of postwar haute couture, the Saint Laurent version of heavy silk faille merges the sumptuous romanticism of Christian Dior and the sculptural drama of Cristobal Balenciaga. This coat, with its bias collar extending into front ties, may be worn pulled close to the neck, or falling away from the back and shoulders as was preferred by the dégagée client, Nan Kempner.

Comments (46)

  1. Cristine Tozser Says:

    this gorgeous dress is absolutely amazing..the color is fantastic…

  2. Edward E Says:

    I rarely find 80s couture beautiful, but this is an exception. The color is amazing and the silhouette looks like a mix of Elizabethan with the sleeve and the back of neck reminds me of a kimono.

  3. Laurie Aron Says:

    This beautiful coat is like the no make-up look achieved with a lot of carefully applied make-up. Enormous amounts of careful dressmaking and tailoring detail achieve a naturalistic flow of the best of the color and inherent drape of this extraordinary fabric. With the designed and sewn constraints applied, the fabric is allowed a life of its own.

  4. cushman Says:

    We saw the Nan Kempner exhibition. It was so beautiful then and now. I love hte color.

  5. Miriam Katowitz Says:

    Fabulous in design and color. nice to see an item that was worn outside of the fashion show. I suspect that one would feel great wearing this coat.

  6. kelley Says:

    what a silhouette.

  7. Nicole Says:

    che bella! this is the most stunning piece in the collection!

  8. RICK Says:


  9. Hannah White Says:

    These clothes are more than clothes they are art and they are beautiful it makes me extremley happy to know that someone is trying to preseve such works of art
    Thank You,

  10. Romi Says:

    I Love the orange!

  11. leah Says:

    i want that is seeeeeeemmmmssss sooooooooooooooo cool i love the way it flows, and the way it is big and cool…. FUN!!!!

  12. Kenj Lucy Says:

    This is a vivacious color and is such a tent!

  13. Roberta Says:

    This is beautiful, although I could never pull it off. I was reading about Nan Kempner in a Vogue issue and I recall she donated alot of her collection (heavily laden with YSL, of course) to the museuem upon her death. This is a prime example of the collaboration of a designer and a fashion icon. The color is divine and the shape is quite unique.

  14. Dan Says:

    A travesty in yellow. It positively sucks the oxygen out of the room, causing one’s lungs to implode. At the same time, the narcissistic screams of ME, ME, ME!!! are quite deafening, but strangely accompany the visual assault in a perfect synergy of destruction. Truly the ground zero that sends the innocent running from buildings, their hair ablaze, into the streets, seeking the mercy of a Hesitant Death.

  15. Steve Says:

    Not really my colour

  16. Llllllllllllll Says:


  17. Suzanne Says:

    “Drama is an art that is best captured in large quanitities”

  18. Christina Says:

    Both the color and the structure make this a truly incredible coat, one that truly would make a statement in any room

  19. Kaeleigh Says:

    This is absolutely gorgeous.

  20. Riley Says:

    I think that this dress is one of the cutest that I have ever seen. Casta Diva is right!!! I think that that fabric is awesome with the design.

  21. Zoe Says:

    Beautiful color, silhouette, and drape - an incredible piece.

  22. Melody Says:

    This part of the museaum is really cool!!! i liked all the…dresses. They were very….nice……….

  23. meimi1995529 Says:

    it looks like the same fabric as the gates in central park

  24. yasin Says:

    “Drama is an art that is best captured in large quanitities”

  25. joey bobby Says:

    I think it is soooooo out of style!!!! Seriously

  26. molly Says:

    its got a good color, but there is way too much fabric It reminds me of a show curtain

  27. CHESTER Says:


  28. Kat Says:


  29. satchmo Says:

    Love it.

  30. joe Says:

    Yo this cool yo

  31. Me Says:

    This is a confusing dress. You cant see anything but your head!!! BORING!!!!

  32. Bobby Says:

    This dress is horendous! It looks like big bird! I want to be fierce, not a pregnant cartoon characte.

  33. carrro Says:

    brilliant color.

  34. E (peace) Says:

    This dress is so gorgeous and sexy. Any man would die doing a woman wearing it.

  35. lilya Says:

    this dress is awesome

  36. LJ Says:

    Love this design!

  37. Susan S Says:

    I lov e the color! Can you imagine the entrance you would make wearing this!

  38. John Dorcinville Says:

    I was floored by the work of Yves Saint Laurent’s. The richly saturated fabric and floor-sweeping length is very evocative of the brand and its heritage. Very few designers can create something this grande and majestic, and Saint Laurent is one of them.

  39. michaela Says:

    it looks like a sack and i hate orange >= (

  40. Phindi Says:

    This is a magnificient dress, the color is beautiful, and overall this dress is of exceptional construction, one of Yves Saint Laurent’s most superb creations!

  41. Kevin Says:

    Yves, why did you leave us? You took beauty with you on your descent into maddness.

  42. Jamie Says:

    It looks like you’re wearing a curtain…I think it will have side effects…BAD ONES! Thumbs down! :(

  43. Kay Says:

    The sleeves are a bit overdone.

  44. Laura Says:

    YSL…fantastic color and it!

  45. Anise Says:

    Love this one, always did. Like the drama of Yves, and his elegance. The color is brilliant, not only the shade but the striking impact of such rich color. Also like the “tribal” look to some of his clothes (past shows).
    As for the sizes, guess the rich (who are the only ones able to afford these) were always thin.
    Nice work to put this show with a blog so The People can comment!

  46. Jessica Says:

    So happy to see this evening coat again! I first saw it at the “Nan Kempner, American Chic” in winter 2006, which was my absolute favorite exhibition at the Met, ever!

    This gorgeous YSL coat reminds me of a similar red evening coat created by Crhistobal Balenciaga for another American style icon, Countess Mona Bismarck, in 1950s. I flew to Paris to see the exhibition “Mona Bismarck, Christobal Balenciaga: Shared Perfection”, curated by Hubert de Givenchy for the Mona Bismarck Foundation in Paris in Spring 2006, which included the bright red evening coat.

    In the grande tradition of haute couture epitomized by Christobal Balenciaga, Yves Saint Laurent injected vibrant color and energy into this beautiful evening coat. And Nan Kempner, his most stylish client, made one of the grandest ever entrances to the Met in this coat in 1983! What a coat!

    To me, Christobal Balenciaga created the most elegantly striking form of haute couture while Yves Saint Laurent brought the brightest hues to it.

    Thank you Met for organizing this fun and amazing exhibition! Thank you Nan and Mona for bringing so much money, life and fun to haute couture! And thank you Kempner family for donating Nan’s wardrobe, including this magnificent evening coat, to the Met!

Comments are closed.

E-mail It