Dior, Balmain, Saint Laurent: Elegance and Ease

April 27, 2013 - September 7, 2014

Mint Museum Randolph


French fashion has long been and continues to form the foundation of global designs.

Christian Dior (1905-1957) established Paris as the center of the world of modern haute couture. Dior’s “New Look” fashions presented small, nipped-in waistlines above full skirts that emphasized the bust and hips in these silhouettes. He selected extravagant fabrics for his dresses and gowns, and his designs soon captured the attention of prominent clients from around the world.

Known for the elegance and movement of his formal designs, Pierre Balmain (1914-1982) created exquisite, simple silhouettes for his tailored suits. He once stated that “The dressmaker is the architect of movement.” Even today, Balmain’s couture designs are chic and highly sought after by stars of stage and screen, prominent women, and the international jet set.

Yves Saint Laurent (1936-2008) is recognized as one of the greatest innovators in fashion history. He was among the first to present ready-to-wear designs, including
his famous tuxedo suits, which became a symbol of fashionable ease found in exotic cities throughout the world. In 1985, fashion historian Caroline Rennolds Milbank
wrote that Yves Saint Laurent is ”the most consistently celebrated and influential designer of the past twenty years.” His formal and evening fashions as well as his
tailored suits are evidence of his ability to create impressive directions in the world of haute couture and luxury fashions.

This special exhibition, drawn entirely from the Mint’s Fashion Collection, features thirty exquisite designs by these three French Masters and the unique approach
each brought to the fashion world. Curator tours will be presented throughout the run of the exhibition. Organized by The Mint Museum.


For the first time in the 40-year history of the Mint’s internationally renowned Fashion Collection, the museum is opening the collection up to the public as it never has before. Visitors are invited to the fashion galleries at Mint Museum Randolph to observe the process of de-installation, assessment, photography, conservation, and preservation of delicate objects spanning over three centuries of fashion history. At times, museum experts will be onsite and available to answer questions from visitors.  Expereince a one-of-a-kind behind the scenes look at the largest and most artistically significant Fashion Collection in the Southeast!

Online Resources

For more information on this exhibition, please visit the Mintwiki. Created by The Mint Museum Library, Mintwiki provides online information on the special exhibitions and permanent collections of The Mint Museum.