A highlight of our trip to Marrakesh was the visit to Yves Saint Laurent’s Jardin Majorelle and the YSL Museum.
The museum that pays hommage to one of the greatest and most influential fashion designer of the 20th century is a little gem. The beautiful, minimalistic building is a mix of Arabian and modern elements and the perfect setting for showcasing Saint Laurent’s designs.
The well-curated exhibition is not that large, but this is positive because you can really focus on each item. Unfortunately you’re not allowed to take photos inside this all black space. On display are some of his most iconic designs like the Le Smoking and the Safari jacket. Another highlight is the jewellery section.
Saint Laurent was born in Oran, Algeria and his life long love for the North African aesthetics is seen not just in his fashion designs, but also in the amazing Jardin Majorelle as well.
Situated a stone throw away on the street renamed Rue Yves Saint Laurent this is a piece of art in itself.
The French artist Jacques Majorelle bought the land in the 1920s and built and Art Deco styled house that looks stunningly modern still.
The garden is a living and evolving work of art made up of exotic plants and rare species that Majorelle brought back from his travels around the world: cactus, yuccas, water lilies, white water lilies, jasmines, bougainvilleas, palms, coconut trees and bamboos.
In 1937 the artist created an ultramarine blue that was both bright and intense: known today as Majorelle blue, he used it to paint and transform the garden.
He opened the garden to the public in 1947. But after the death of Majorelle the garden fell into neglect. In 1980, Pierre Bergé and Yves Saint Laurent acquired the garden to save it from property developers and bring it back to life.
Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé had discovered the Majorelle garden in 1966, during their first stay in Marrakech.
” Very soon we became familiar with this garden, it was hardly days without we go there. It was open to the public but there was hardly anyone there. We were seduced by this oasis where the colors of Matisse mingle with those of nature. »…« So when we learned that this garden was going to be sold and replaced by a hotel, we did the impossible to stop this project. Thus one day we became owners of the garden and the villa. Over the years, we have revived the garden. “
From Yves Saint Laurent, A Moroccan Passion , by Pierre Bergé
Éditions de la Martinière, 2010.
When Saint Laurent died in 2008 his ashes was spread in the rose garden and there’s a memorial open to public.
A major attraction in Marrakesh, the garden attracts tourists from all over the world. Seeing muslim women partly or totally covered in their hiijab’s alongside tourists in barley there outfits surely makes one ponder over fashion, clothes and culture in it’s wider aspects.
In all the garden is a stark contrast to the bustling and sometimes chaotic city of Marrakesh. There’s a magical feeling to it and the recurrent Majorelle blues together with the abundance of greenery creates a truly unique place.
I hope to return again soon…
The YSL Museum & Jardin Majorelle, Rue Yves Saint Laurent, Marrakesh.
If possible visit off- peak times. I recommend buying tickets for both spaces at the museum since the queues are longer at the garden entrance.