Once upon a time in a land not so far away, lived one of the most influential men in the fashion world. Morocco’s Marrakesh a colorful city surrounded by the foothills of the Atlas mountains. What many might not know is that renowned designer Yves Saint Laurent has had very strong ties with the city of magic with a street named after him to prove it. We are here to tell you the story of the love affair that began in the 1960s and how the colorful city came to be the muse for many of his best creations.
The designer first visited the city of Marrakesh in the 60s with his then partner Pierre Bergé, “in 1966 our idea was simply to spend a month at the Mamounia hotel” Bergé said to BBC. What began as a short trip quickly turned into a vacation home. The duo fell in love with the buzz of the city and decided to buy a house there. They first bought a small house in the “Medina” which is the Arabic quarter. The city soon became a holiday destination for them and their friends. The famous designer felt like Marrakesh was his getaway from his actual home, Paris, where everyone knew who he was.
In a another district in Marrakesh was the Jardin Majorelle, a captivating botanical garden surrounded by cacti and exotic bamboo grooves and a bold blue villa. Once owned by French painter Jacques Majorelle, the garden was going to be demolished in the 1980s by hotel developers. Admired by Saint Laurent from the very first time he set foot in Marrakesh, the designer decided to buy the garden to save it from destruction. The new homeowner lived in the electric blue villa, which later became known as Villa Oasis, “for many years, the Jardin Majorelle has provided me with an endless source of inspiration, and I have often dreamt of its unique colors” expressed Saint Laurents.. The Jardin Majorelle is now open to the public and gets around 800 thousand visitors a year.
Drawing inspiration from the red city
Marrakesh and the Jardin Majorelle represented more than just a home for the designer. With the amount of time he spent their, he connected with the city and drew inspiration from it’s majestic colors. The buildings of Marrakesh are painted in an inviting salmon pink, it is often referred to as “Al Hamra” or “The red city”. According to his partner Bergé, “Yves was influenced artistically by the colors he encountered in Marrakech, the colors of nature and of the clothes he saw about him. It was always the colors more than the designs. Actually he loved the mix of colors, he said before Marrakech he saw only in black and white”. The designer continued to design his collections for Paris in Marrakech and continued to live there for years.
Musée Yves Saint Laurent
A museum dedicated to the work of the legendary designer Yves Saint Laurent opened in 2017. The museum tells the story of the legacy of the designer and presents an important selection from the Fondation Pierre Bergé and Yves Saint Laurent’s impressive collection. There are over 5,000 items of clothing, 15,000 accessories as well as old sketches by the designer.
WE SAID THIS: We love how the designer has drawn inspiration from the beautiful red city.