Good news for sad times; the first retrospective spanning 40 years of design by the Maison haute couture Yves Saint Laurent (which closed its doors in 2002) is being shown at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA) until the 28th of September.

His cult-creations (including the Smoking, the Mondrian and Pop Art dresses) are on display. “We also exhibit one Trapeze dress from the period while he was working at Dior, says Diane Charbonneau, curator of the Contemporary Decorative Arts for the MMFA. And we reveal some historic images and original sketches that were given to the seamstresses by the designer,” explains the curator.

Designed by the Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint Laurent Foundation in partnership with the San Francisco Museum of Fine Arts, this exhibition contains nearly 160 accessorized models. Some pieces are sure to appeal to the fashionistas, like the transparent black dress “adorned with some feathers at the waist,” says Diane Charbonneau.

The retrospective shows perfectly all the designer’s audacities, notably his blend of the masculine-feminine with the pantsuit, worn day and night. In the same spirit, we should highlight the design of the 1971’s double-breasted jackets inspired by Al Capone. Other famous adaptations are shown: the safari wear (borrowed from the German Afrikakorps), the trench coat, the pea coat and the camouflage.

Firstly influenced by the colour black, YSL shifted his interests to Morocco, land of sun and hot sand. The result? He brilliantly explores the vivid colours and interprets the African countries’ traditional costumes (djellaba, burnous and fez). Virtuoso colourist, Yves Saint Laurent has blown away the fashion world with his daring clashing tones.

To see again and again: his vibrant colours juxtaposition of pinks and oranges, as well as his mind-blowing duos of turquoise and pink, green and orange, black and petrol blue. What a fantastic posthumous homage to this fashion genius!