Garments lead very different lives compared to other visual arts before they come to rest in an archive. Besides their current iconic status these garments moved, were felt and inhabited by people.
Constructed in true Haute Couture style, the salmon pink silk drapes gracefully around the fiberglass mannequin. The original wearer, Charlotte Aillaud (1921-2021), would have had physical freedom to move in this gown, which perfectly alligned with Saint Laurent’s mastery of the interplay between nature and art. In a 1977 interview for the New York Times by Anthony Burgess, Saint Laurent discussed the delicate balance between the body and his creations. He believed that art should never constrain the body; instead, nature would prevail, allowing art to accentuate the body’s freedom.
Given Aillaud’s role as a prominent host and socialite in the vibrant Saint-Germain-des-Prés scene, as well as her personal friendship with Yves Saint Laurent, this context sheds light on the occasions when the gown was worn. It likely graced elegant parties and soirées, where fashion was not just worn but celebrated as a form of art.