Forget Diamonds. Fashion is a Girl’s Best Friend.

Written by Kimberly MacArthur Graham on June 27, 2012

L to R: Sarah Lewis, Holly Bell, Bobbi Walker, Dana Meacham, Rachelle Folsom, Darrin Alfred, Kimberly MacArthur Graham

If you are in Denver and haven’t yet seen the Yves Saint Laurent retrospective at the Denver Art Museum – you have about a week left. GO!   Holly and I joined the YSL tour put together by Luxe Magazine and led by DAM Curator Darrin Alfred. Thank you Luxe for roping Alfred in: his opening quip about the show traveling to “Paris, Madrid – and Denver, naturally” set the stage for an open conversation that gave historical context, as well as insights into the art, the business, and the personal aspects of a fashion icon. A curatorial tour yielded two highlights we would have otherwise missed altogether – so we’re going to share them with you.


With Darrin Alfred - head curator at DAM and our docent for the day.

First, I submit to you the “color room,” a floor-to-ceiling installation of fabric swatches, arranged by hue and “illustrated” by monochrome outfits. The final effect made me think of the fantastical Royal Palace of Madrid. Beauty aside, what really blew us away was the installation process, which involved lots of black archival paper, Plexiglas, and individually wrapped magnets.  Another amazing install is seen in the final vignette, which will knock your socks off with a selection of YSL’s famous tuxedos juxtaposed against a gathering of ball gowns. (Think 25-foot-high walls with cantilevered platforms.)


A room full of color and texture.

Second, we were treated to an anecdote that as marketers, we really appreciated. In 1971, Yves Saint Laurent launched an ad for his men’s fragrance Pour Homme. Notably, he was the first perfume maker to appear in an ad for his own product, but more famously  he was photographed nude, in a way that alluded to religious imagery. Hmmm. The ad caused a sensation, deemed so scandalous it was mostly pulled. According to Alfred, several publications offered to run the ad for FREE, but it mostly flopped. Now, of course, it’s iconic and fabulous and worth mucho dinero.


YSL is a study in paradox, but this retrospective is more easily defined:  a run(a)way “don’t miss.”


Layer Cake Creative is a strategic marketing agency specializing in communications, design, publicity and online marketing that enrich your brand and support your strategic and sales goals.  This Denver marketing firm specializes in promoting professional services such as architecture, construction, engineering, law, finance, and real estate.

Kimberly MacArthur Graham, founder of Layer Cake Creative, is an expert in professional services marketing with 20+ years in the design and building industry.  She’s especially proficient in marketing communications including technical or creative writing and editing, articles submitted for publication, and brand messaging.

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