Style is Eternal is the first exhibition in the UK to present a comprehensive display of Yves Saint Laurent's work and life. Lucky us that it came to the Bowes Museum which is just up the road a tiny bit!
The Bowes Museum is a beautiful building. As you approach the giant gates the house is shown in all its glory, particularly when you arrive on a sunny Saturday morning, with people who have never been before, and who actually gasp out loud at the sight before them! The exhibition itself is housed on the first floor, up the fabulous staircase, and past the giant mirror on the landing. We chose the 11am slot which I can highly recommend as a time - parking was easy to find and although the exhibition was busy it wasn't rammed so there was plenty space to freely wander around and not feel like you were shuffling along with the masses.
At first it's slightly confusing as in the left hand gallery the YSL dresses are in the display cases with other clothes and textiles. I freely admit to not really paying too much attention and thinking they were all part of the same thing, until it suddenly dawned on me that the clothes at the front of each display box were numbered and therefore part of the exhibition - oops. I much preferred the other rooms where the clothes were not behind glass and you could get up close to see the stunning embroidery (all by Lesage). The right hand gallery is all like this and so much more appealing, to me anyway.
The designs are beautiful and a lot of them looked wearable, which is a big bonus when you're walking around selecting which one you would pick if you could take one home. I fell hard for a green and black swing dress with a bright pink heart - with a pair of black tights and knee high boots, perfect for Winter! Sadly taking one of them home was not an option (except when you buy the postcard of said dress) but looking and dreaming are freely available so...
It's not huge, it probably took us about 30 minutes to walk around, but it is a very enjoyable exhibition and the surroundings make it even more so. If you get a spare 10 minutes I would advise popping down to the café and having some Mad Hatter tea and crumpets toasted to perfection, and a mooch round the gift shop as there are a number of postcards and exhibition catalogues to take home. For once, this exhibition is still live so you can visit yourself to find out more. All the details are below.
Yves Saint Laurent, Style is Eternal (11th July - 25th October 2015)
Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle, DL12 8NP
Bowes Museum website
Book tickets online here: Yves Saint Laurent
Open daily 10-5 (FREE entry to Café Bowes and Shop)
Let me know what you think if you go!