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March 06, 2008

Casta Diva

Posted in: Ensembles

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.

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