The interior of the apartment was designed in the Art Deco style by French architect Jean Michel in the 1920s, reflecting Saint Laurent’s obsession with the Jazz Age, which was also echoed in his ready-to-wear collections of the time. The designer was at the time inclined towards the refined and elegant aesthetics of high-end Art Deco, and the apartment featured Eileen Gray’s Dragon Armchair, Pierre Legrand stools, Jean Dunand vases, Gustave Miklos stools, red lacquer frames and elegant were kept In 1972, the modern art and furniture collection of early 20th century couturier Jacques Doust was sold.
A new book, Yves Saint Laurent at Home – Life with Yves and Pierre, written by their friend, interior designer Jacques Grange, shows the homes of the 1970s. Their other major residence in the 70s was Dar Al Saada, a pink mansion in a secluded spot in Marrakech, acquired in 1974, with interiors redesigned by Bill Willis. For Saint Laurent, who was born in French Algeria, their Moroccan villa – surrounded by the paradoxical Jardin Majorelle, designed by the French “Orientalist” painter Jacques Majorelle – offered an escape from the commercial pressures of Paris.
“As the first celebrities to allow their homes to be photographed for interior design magazines, Saint Laurent and Berg practically turned Marrakech into the 21st arrondissement of Paris,” writes journalist Lawrence Benaim in the book. The openly gay couple vacationed in Marrakech in 1967, and met bohemian Americans Teletha and Paul Getty. The young, beau Saint Laurent grew his hair, adopted a more relaxed hippie look, and smoked kef (hashish, common in North Africa) with his second muse, Loulou de la Falaise. In the mid-1970s, he donned thick kaftans there and in 1976 created a collection of Moroccan-inspired, vibrantly colored womenswear – simple tunics and harem pants in purple and orange.
Known as a fashion designer, Saint Laurent is nevertheless admired by many for his insider taste, says Martina Mondadori, editor of Cabana magazine and co-author of the book, YSL Lexicon: An ABC of Fashion. Life and Inspirations of Yves. Saint Laurent: “In the last 15 years, there is no fashion designer or interior decorator who has not been influenced by the vision of Saint Laurent.” Dar al-Saada was a model of the versatile, sophisticated world in which he lived. The flow of rooms on the ground floor is the perfect set design for any party. It’s so decadent, and the velvet, paint and tiles make the whole house feel so homely – the secret to finally making everyone feel at home.”