November 02, 2016

Two exhibits recently rolled into local Seattle museums. One on fashion, one on mystery. Sounds like a case for Renee Patrick! We visited both over Halloween weekend. Neither disappointed.

We’ve been waiting for Yves Saint Laurent: The Perfection of Style since the Seattle Art Museum announced its opening last year. The exhibit, organized by SAM and the foundation dedicated to preserving YSL’s legacy, spans the entirety of the designer’s career. And we mean the entirety. It begins with the paper dolls Saint Laurent made as a teenager to showcase clothes he’d sketched, which have never before been shown in the United States. Having spent most of the year travelling with paper dolls on the Design for Dying book tour, we were astonished by how good the dolls looked sixty-plus years on. Ours haven’t held up nearly as well.

It’s a beautifully designed exhibit, with over 100 original YSL garments on display including the famous Mondrian dress. It’s also a thorough one, the clothes accompanied by sketches, concept boards, fabric swatches, even some comic strips Saint Laurent drew to amuse himself. Saint Laurent’s film work is not overlooked; clips from The Pink Panther and Belle de Jour are featured, along with some of the actual wardrobe he designed. (Speaking of movies, if you can’t make it to Seattle, may we suggest watching Bertrand Bonello’s spellbinding bio-pic Saint Laurent – not to be confused with the authorized film Yves Saint Laurent – instead?) We’re already making plans for another trip through the show and YSL’s astonishing life.

Some of Saint Laurent's handmade paper dolls

Meanwhile, the game is afoot across town as The International Exhibition of Sherlock Holmes takes over the Pacific Science Center. The exhibit opens with a detailed look at how Arthur Conan Doyle’s medical training influenced the creation and methods of his famous detective, and closes with a survey of Sherlock’s many film and TV iterations – yes, complete with costume displays. (Edith would be so pleased.) In between is a substantial interactive section in which, with the aid of your trusty notebook, you deploy your own observation skills and deductive reasoning to solve a mystery. It’s a lot of fun, and we didn’t get too involved in examining the crime scene no matter what those docents tell you.

Both exhibits, as it happens, close on January 8, 2017, so if you find yourself in Seattle you can hit them both.


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