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Morocco: One of Yves Saint-Laurent’s Biggest Inspiration

Yves Saint-Laurent was one of the best designers in the world. Born in Algeria, he worked for Maison Dior in the fifties before creating his own brand alongside his lover, Pierre Bergé, in the 1960s. Everyone knows or heard about the luxury YSL brand in the past, but only a few know that Yves Saint-Laurent was greatly inspired by Morocco. 

His passion for Morocco officially started in 1966 when Yves Saint-Laurent and his lover, Pierre Bergé, visited Morocco for the first time. They stayed in Marrakech at the now famous and luxurious hotel, La Mamounia. From this moment, they fell in love with the charming simplicity of Morocco and its dazzling sun. After a few trips to Morocco, the couple decided to buy a house in the Medina. Their house was called "Dar el-Hanch", which meant "The house of the snake". For the decorations, all the furniture was bought in the souk. The couple was happy because of the simplicity and realness of the Moroccan Lifestyle. In 1974, Yves Saint-Laurent and Pierre Bergé decided to sell their house for a new one called "Dar Es Saada" ("The house of happiness in the serenity"). A few years later, after hearing about a potential building project, the pair bought the "Jardin Majorelle" ("Majorelle garden") and its villa which they named "Villa Oasis". In the nineties, another house was bought in the city of Tanger, which clearly shows Yves Saint-Laurent’s tremendous love for the country.

Morocco was a powerful source of inspiration for Yves Saint-Laurent. Indeed, he would go twice a year, in December and June, to draw new designs. The traditional Moroccan clothing attracted his attention and inspired him greatly. The vivacity of the kaftan's colors worn in the streets of Marrakech influenced the creation of his future collections. Before visiting Morocco, Yves Saint-Laurent’s collections were mostly in black and white. After his visits, the collections shifted to another (colorful) direction. He was also greatly inspired by the Berber culture and the beauty and strength of Berber women.

Today, the Majorelle garden and the Yves Saint-Laurent museum in Marrakesh are the representations and memories of Yves Saint-Laurent’s passion for Morocco. These emblematic locations are now ones of the most visited places in Morocco. The museum of Berber art, situated in the Majorelle garden, has more than 600 objects from Berber costumes to jewelry for the public’s enjoyment. The variety of adornments exposed in the museum showcases the Berber heritage.

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