Heinrich says he likes the idea of looking at a designer the way one might look at an artist.
“Like a true artist, [Laurent] always had his handwriting, he always had his signature, his particular style,” says the museum director. “But like a true artist, he got inspiration from everywhere. He did these mental journeys to Russia, to China, to Africa and to all over the world and got inspired by tribal art, by the dresses, by certain costumes of these countries, and never actually was a big traveler. So these were really things that happened in his head, part of his imagination, and that were so interesting because they are reflected in the style and each and every model is 100 percent him.”
And especially in the contemporary setting of the Denver Art Museum, the YSL styles appear very modern and very wearable, Heinrich adds, saying every piece in the exhibit could be worn today “and nobody would see that it’s 40 years old.”
“Yves Saint Laurent shaped, absolutely, what you ladies are wearing today,” he says. “A great designer is reacting to his time and shaping his time, both.”