Design House Yves Saint Laurent French
Designer Yves Saint Laurent French, born Algeria

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The release of Yves Saint Laurent’s autumn/winter 1971–72 collection coincided with a major social event in the French capital of fashion: the Baron Guy de Rothschild and his wife Baroness Marie-Hélène de Rothschild’s fantastical "Proust Ball." This lavish masquerade took place at the Château de Ferrières on December 2, 1971, in celebration of the one hundredth anniversary of the birth of writer Marcel Proust (1871–1922). It was typical for fashion designers to dress the guests for such events, and Yves Saint Laurent’s recent collection provided a lavish source of inspiration to indulge many of the attendees’ reimagining of the past. A variation on this style, with its contemporaneous interpretation of leg-o-mutton (or gigot) sleeves and rustling layers of flounced taffeta, was worn by the American socialite Nan Kempner. As other designs from Yves Saint Laurent conjured the decadence of the Belle Epoqué with a similar ease, to enormous popularity at the event, this season has come to be recognized as the "Proust Ball" collection.

Dress, Yves Saint Laurent (French, founded 1961), (a) silk, metal; (b) silk, metal, French

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