Yves Saint Laurent’s Mondrian dress

07 April 2016

While the fashion industry nowadays often turn to art for their inspiration, Yves Saint Laurent was among the first to create runway collections inspired by the gallery. He is known for designing pieces that were influenced by the work of artists like Andy Warhol, Van Gogh and Georged Brague. And the most famous of all was the Mondrian collection. 

The birth of an icon 
In 1965 the Mondrian dressses were released by Yves Saint Laurent. The collection consisted of knee length, color-blocked wool and jersey shift dresses. Yves used three primary colours, which he combined with white space and black lines. Much like Piet Mondrian's style of painting. 

Yves Saint Laurent's expertise
Yves Saint Laurent's genius was not just in using the artistic reference, but in using the color blocks to both accommodate the female body and hide the seaming. Although the overall effect appeared simple, the technique was complex and required precision cutting and work-intensive haute couture techniques. The dichotomy between the simplistic design of the dress and the complex construction is one of the main characteristics of Yves Saint Laurent signature style.

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The dress of tomorrow
The Mondrian dress became popular when it was featured on the cover of the French Vogue in September 1965. The design embodied the growing interest in minimalist and mod fashion at the time. Harper’s Bazaar referred to the design as ‘the dress of tomorrow’ and it didn't take long before cheaper copies appeared everywhere.

Fashion becomes art
The original dresses from the collection can be found in several museums all over the world. including the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, the V&A Museum in London and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.