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Color Connection #22

Couture Monday: Happy New Year from YSL

As you know, I've been quite harsh on the more recent releases from Yves Saint Laurent.  Just as I had completely lost my faith in the brand being able to come up with some worthy collectible items, they released this beauty in honor of the Chinese New Year.  Outfitted in red and gold, the colors of the Chinese New Year, the design is inspired by one of YSL's floral print open-back dresses as well as the cherry blossoms used as decorations in various Chinese New Year celebrations.




While I wasn't able to find any dresses remotely resembling the pattern on the palette, I did come across one clue as to why YSL would release a Chinese New Year-themed palette:  namely, the designer's iconic Fall/Winter 1977 Chinese collection.  As The Handbook of Fashion Studies explains, "Saint Laurent had a very French idea of the Orient stemming from late seventeenth and eighteenth-century exoticism and chinoiserie, commingled with twentieth-century collecting and the display of artifacts in European interiors and museums."  I'm a little surprised I wasn't aware of this very influential fashion collection, or the link between it and the release of the designer's legendary fragrance Opium, which launched later that year (and went on to inspire two gorgeous palettes.)

(image from pinterest.com)

(images from fondation-pb-ysl.net and pinterest.com)

(image from decadesinc.com)

Style and culture blogger Suzanna Mars has an excellent description of the collection:  "St. Laurent was on an exotic-destination high that summer of 1977, having earlier discoursed on Les Ballets Russes, gypsies, and peasants a l'Espagnole. Now he ventured onto the steppes of Outer Mongolia for a fantasy (but still wearable) collection, his most sumptuous to date. In a 2.5-hour runway show, St. Laurent sent models down the catwalk in Empress dresses (robes d'Imperatrice), pantalons, vests, jackets, and kimonos. These garments were rendered in suede, taffeta, silk, oilskin, damask, satin, and velvet with gold-thread embroidery, tassels and mink trim. The gold thread cost $200 a meter. Tatar and Chinese influences were equally represented in a triumph of aesthetic refinement."

Seeing this collection, along with how Tom Ford re-invented the theme for his final YSL show in 2004, gives me a much better understanding of the link between the palette and the fashion - something that's been sorely lacking in recent YSL beauty releases.  While I do wish I could see the exact YSL dress that inspired the pattern, this palette is much more harmonious in terms of the fashion of YSL while also beautifully representing the Chinese New Year.

Interestingly, when I was researching the connection between YSL and China, I stumbled across this equally lovely palette that was apparently released back in the fall of 2013 in honor of the brand's launch in China. 


(images from butterboom.com)

I'm adding this to my "ones that got away but still hoping I can track down" list.  :)

What do you think of Chinese New Year palette?  Has YSL Beauty made a comeback in your eyes?

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