Gala Opening Reception “Yves Saint Laurent - The Retrospective”
Speech by Ambassador François Delattre
Denver Art Museum
Congresswoman DeGette, Mayor Hancock, Cher Pierre Bergé, Ladies and Gentlemen, Distinguished guests,
It’s a great pleasure and honor for our Consul general David Martinon, for our Honorary Consul Jeffrey Richards and for me to be here with you tonight for this exceptional event.
I would like to start by expressing my warmest thanks to the Denver Art Museum, a world-class museum for the world-class Yves Saint Laurent Retrospective. With a special word of thanks to the Museum’s Director Christoph Heinrich, its President Cathey Finlon, its Board co-Chairs Fred Hamilton and Larry Martin and all the superb Museum Staff.
I also would like to pay a very special homage to Mr. Pierre Bergé, co-founder of YSL Couture House and President of the Fondation Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint-Laurent, who made the whole Yves Saint-Laurent adventure possible, and who is with us tonight. He is a wonderful ambassador of France’s art de vivre and creativity. Please give him a warm round of applause.
And I would like to thank the Pierre Bergé–Yves Saint Laurent Foundation : Phillippe Mugnier, Olivier Segot, Laeticia Roux and Florence Müller as well as Nathalie Crinière, the exhibition’s curator and designer.
Finally, I’d like to say a special thanks to Betty Catroux for traveling to Denver and gracing us with her presence.
Together, Yves Saint-Laurent and Pierre Bergé formed a unique partnership, delicately balancing artistic creativity and strong business acumen to create one of the world’s most well-known and iconic luxury brand.
Yves Saint-Laurent and Pierre Bergé revolutionized the fashion industry. YSL signature styles and modern view of feminity revolutionized the woman’s wardrobe and continue to symbolize French chic, feminine elegance and the power of seduction.
The iconic tuxedo – which my wife particularly loves and frequently wears – the pantsuit, the safary jacket and the trench coat are just a few illustrations.
Yves Saint-Laurent’s concept of “Rive Gauche” brought a sense of democracy to fashion by making a luxury label accessible to a wider public. This was also a revolution in the industry.
Throughout the years, the groundbreaking designs of the house of YSL have become iconic cultural and artistic references and its co-founder, the grand couturier Yves Saint-Laurent, has secured a reputation as one of the 20th century’s most important designers. This exceptional exhibition honors the grand couturier we all so admire. But I also want again to pay a special tribute to Pierre Bergé, the house’s co-founder, who continues the legacy of M. Saint-Laurent to make sure that the world be continually reminded of his great artistic and creative talents. M. Saint-Laurent’s ideals are still very much alive and relevant in the contemporary incarnation of the House. Acquired by the French group PPR that is led by François-Henri Pinault, YSL continues to be one of the leading fashion houses in the world.
A truly iconic figure who created a global brand with a uniquely authentic French heritage, YSL remains, 50 years after its founding, at the vanguard of fashion in the world.
So tonight, France is proud to have the opportunity to share with you one of its great talents and such a large collection. This is an opportunity for the French and Americans to come together again around fashion, and more broadly around culture and the arts.
As was said before, this exhibit, which travelled from Paris to Madrid, is making its only US stop here in Denver. It says a lot about the fast-growing role of Denver on the world cultural scene.
I wish you a great evening and I hope that the people of Denver and its rich cultural community will enjoy this exceptional exhibit.