MARRAKECH WAS THE PLACE WHERE COLOUR SATURATED HIS WAKING LIFE AND YVES SAINT LAURENT’S SENSES WERE INVIGORATED UPON TOUCHDOWN.
His relationship with Morocco had a depth that animated his exotica. “Marrakech taught me colour”, was Yves Saint Laurent’s truth and it flooded through the wrought iron gates that electrified the early mastery of his colour palette. His Algerian roots knocked at his villas’ orange of saffron coloured terracotta details and after his first trip to Marrakech in 1966, his Paris home never looked the same. Yves Saint Laurent and his partner Pierre Bergé adopted Marrakech as their second home and the country’s grounds carried not just one home but three, one of which they acquired from French artist Jacques Majorelle. The decadent garden villa, an eye-popping shade of blue became known as “Majorelle blue” on Yves Saint Laurent’s colour wheel. His Marrakech paradise infused mystic into his couture. The country’s people, handcrafts, spices and colours had an unstoppable allure that kept him going back. The violet hue from his garden, “violet of bougainvillea” cultivated the decadent embroideries and cuts that enamored the redesign of his thickly embroidered floral kaftans. Feathers, gold cuffs and ethnic garbs entranced the designs that broke out with Saint Laurent’s enigmatic African collection. His first safari jacket design of 1968 led him to reinvent new shapes from Moroccan ethnic attire, the djellaba, jabador, burnous and tarbouch, came under Yves Saint Laurent’s spell. It was a time and place that shocked the legend’s senses to excite a decadence that led him to Marrakech through the rabbit hole.