an insolent mix: Yves Saint Laurent's Marrakesh

You don’t have to live in a ryad like Yves Saint Laurent to have a little bit of Marrakesh your life. Like a serpent, the inspirations of Marrakesh, may slip into your life in unexpected ways. For YSL Marrakesh was his retreat from Paris, the special place he went three months out of every year to work on his fashion collections and to immerse himself in an exotic world of Moroccan fantasy. 

He and Pierre Berge created a home in Marrakesh that was a brilliant mix of traditional Moroccan decorative art and European antiques and paintings. The zillij fireplace in the living room of Villa Oasis was an intricate mosiac design made from turquoise, light blue and celadon green ceramic tile: a perfect stage for orange flames.  Their legendary interior decorator, Bill Willis re-invented Moroccan plaster-work into the form of half dome lighting fixtures that suspended delicately above the room.  Inexpensive hand-painted Moroccan octagonal tea-tables served as useful occasional tables throughout the house. Blue and white Fez ceramic bowls were used as simple decorative receptacles- perhaps for ashes or olive pits. Resting in the center of large Moroccan tea tray table, was an antique Berber green glaze vase often filled with multi-color roses from their garden. 

{inspiration for an Imports from Marrakesh  custom order project.....}

'Saint Laurent himself described in 1983 how he embraced the inspiration of the light and colors of Marrakech, its "insolent mixes" and "ardent inventions." "But I wasn't content with importing this culture," he said. "I annexed, transformed and adapted it."  via New York Times

In this  iconic photograph by Horst,  YSL is  reclining in a private garden in 1986 surrounded by an stunning collection of red and orange Zemmour tribe carpets. These carpets are a fine flat weave with bold horizontal stripes that are adorned with tiny geometric patterns. They are durable strong  carpets, that roll up easily and perfectly suited to a lifestyle that embraces nomadic luxury. The fuchsia bougainvillea flowers and vivid reds and oranges in berber carpets are colors of Morocco that may have influenced YSL designs.


1. Yves Saint Laurent original drawing 1stdibs
2. Framed by a magnificent Moroccan plaster arch, Yves Saint Laurent works on his fashion sketches  photo via.
3. Living room of Villa Oasis, interior design by Bill Willis, photo via
4. Imports from Marrakesh detail scan of plaster lighting design from same photo...
5. Moroccan rose festival 
6. 1983-84 - YSL Show 
7. Yves Saint Laurent in a Moroccan garden, photograph by Horst
8.  Original sketch: Evening Ensemble, Spring–Summer 1989. 
 Foundation Pierre Bergé –Yves Saint Laurent via
9. Photo from a Paris show... via vogue.it
10. YSL in Marrakesh photo via.
11. YSL fashion sketches with swatches 
12. Model in YSL lying in a on Moroccan carpet from Brazilian Magazine:Claudia,March 1969.
13. Original drawing by YSL via pinterest
14. YSL couture ~  an adaptation of the Fez....pinterest

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