I travelled up to Barnard Castle this weekend to see the Yves Saint Laurent retrospective at the Bowes Museum, a (deferred) birthday treat arranged by my good friend Patsy.
A French chateau in the middle of County Durham may be a little incongruous, but it is a magnificent building.
Interestingly, it was always intended to be a museum, built by John and Josephine Bowes to house their collection of European decorative arts; the museum first opened to the public in 1892.
We took full advantage of the excellent backdrop, of course...
and were very excited about seeing the exhibition.
Fashionable eyebrows were raised when the Bowes Museum was chosen as the venue for this YSL retrospective, the first ever shown in Britain. It is certainly a huge coup for Joanna Hashagen, the museum's fashion curator. But why not? London gets most of the interesting exhibitions, so it makes a refreshing change for the provinces, especially the North, to get a look in.
The clothes are spectacular.
I wasn't sure if photography was allowed (it usually isn't) but I surreptitiously snapped a few of the exhibits.
The bright pink Zepherine dress (far right) is from 1958, when Saint Laurent was designing at Dior; it featured in a fashion show attended by Princess Margaret at Blenheim Palace in that year, and has only recently been rediscovered.
The famous Mondrian dress, 1965; the influence of art is evident in many of the designs.
I love the exuberance of this 1960s magazine spread.
Chic tuxedo, 1966.
Matisse dress, 1980.
There are so many iconic designs in the exhibition, it was a real pleasure to see them up close and beautiful.
Barnard Castle is a pretty market town, and Patsy and I had lunch and checked out the charity shops. Of course.
And I found my own little bit of 1960s glamour...
a Hong Kong-made silk and sequin top and skirt set.
The top fits, but the skirt is tiny. The pieces were hung separately in the shop, priced at £4.99 each, and although I have no idea what I will do with the skirt, it seemed wrong to leave it behind.
(If you have a miniscule waist and hips, and don't mind paying high postage costs - it's very heavy - email me and I'll send you the skirt; it deserves a good home.)
Silk palazzo pants - flea market
Sandals, bangles and 1970s magnifying glass pendant - charity shopped
I'm hoping a soupcon of YSL magic has rubbed off on me!