YSL Workshop

The Art of Clothing in French Society

Saturday, December 10th
2:30 – 4pm
At the Alliance Française de Seattle.

Thanks to the success of the workshop at the Seattle Art Museum, the Alliance Française de Seattle is pleased to offer a second edition in French for our members! Level intermediate and above.

Tell me what you wear, and I will tell you who you are.


This workshop explores clothing as an extension of the body and as an object of study in both sociocultural anthropology and art history.

Over time the trade and dissemination of textiles and garments contributed to the creation of a new dimension of clothing: fashion. Aesthetics play an important role in identity and a particular piece of clothing can be used to communicate clues about the wearer. Costumes and dresses have embodied the distinction between various social groups, geographies, and cultures. This was well understood by visionary designer Yves Saint Laurent.

Yves Saint Laurent brought together the aesthetic, social, and cultural aspects of the art of wearing clothes. Not only did he innovate with new combinations of shapes, textures, and colors, but he also incorporated a strong social statement. At a time when women—in France and elsewhere—were renegotiating their social roles, Yves Saint Laurent promoted a style meant, in his own words, to reassure them and give them confidence. Within his singular aesthetic, Yves Saint Laurent brilliantly intermingled geographies, cultures, life stories, and philosophies.

During this workshop, participants will examine key factors in Yves Saint Laurent’s career through an anthropological lens and will identify them through the pieces of the exhibition. We will also explore YSL’s influence in French culture and society and the world of fashion.

About the presenter

Alexandra Dorca holds a PhD in anthropology from Laval University. Her research focuses on ethnicity, identity and memory, contemporary societies, and visual anthropology. She teaches French classes at l’Alliance Française de Seattle, with a special focus on culture and society, lifestyle, media, and cinema.


Interested in Yves Saint Laurent? Join our Ciné-salon screening Yves Saint Laurent by Jalil Lespert on Sat, Nov.5th, 2pm at the Alliance Française de Seattle! MORE


Image: Evening gown, Autumn–Winter 1983 haute couture collection, © Gilles Tapie.