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In 1965, Yves Saint Laurent designed a collection of fashion based upon modernistic artists including Poliakoff, Malevich and of course, Mondrian. Although the collection was diverse in its inspiration and design it was the collection of six cocktail dresses based on the works of the artist Piet Mondrian that became the forefront of the collection, thus creating the nickname, 'The Mondrian Collection'.

Three models wearing the YSL Mondiran dresses in front of a Mondrian painting. Image via art-sheep.com Three models wearing the YSL Mondiran dresses in front of a Mondrian painting.
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Rather than being printed the dresses block primary colours and black geometric lines were made of individual pieces of fabric. To coincide with the designs Yves Saint Laurent made sure he addressed the structure of the dress. The weight of the fabric meant they hung straight and without movement which enhanced the idea that each dress was a piece of art.

Piet Mondrian, 1921, Composition with Red, Green and Blue Image via robspoolepottery.co.uk Piet Mondrian, 1921, Composition with Red, Green and Blue
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The dresses hit the fashion world at exactly the right moment, encapsulating the bright, geometric ideals of 1960s fashion and with a clean simple structure. As a result, the effect of the Mondrian Collection was felt almost immediately. In 1965 one of the six designs appeared on the cover of French Vogue and cheaper, copycat versions in similar bold geometric designs appeared across the high street.

Mondrian Dress - An example of one of the Mondiran dresses is on display at the Bowes Museum, County Durham as part of the YSL retrospective 'Yves Saint Laurent: Style is Eternal'. Exhibition on until 25th October 2015. Image via thebowesmuseum.files.wordpress.com Mondrian Dress -
An example of one of the Mondiran dresses is on display at the Bowes Museum, County Durham as part of the YSL retrospective 'Yves Saint Laurent: Style is Eternal'. Exhibition on until 25th October 2015.
Image via thebowesmuseum.files.wordpress.com

The importance of this collaboration and its effect on the fashion of the sixties is evident today. In 2011 a rare silk version (instead of the more commonly produced wool version) sold at Kerry Taylor's auction house in London for £27,000. Yves Saint Laurent personally told Sandy Schreier (the accessory designer of the 'ready to wear' collection) he made just two couture dresses in silk of this design, the other version is in the Victoria & Albert fashion collection.

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