The short answer is that if Christoph Heinrich had opted not to wait in a two-hour line at a Paris museum in the summer of 2010, the city might never have had the chance to host “Yves Saint Laurent: The Retrospective.” 
Heinrich, director of the Denver Art Museum , was visiting France and taking in some museums. Such institutions generally give fellow art professionals a line pass, but when Heinrich presented his credentials at the Petit Palais, they shrugged and sent him to the back of the line.
“The show was in full swing and was incredibly successful. I thought I should see it, so I waited with everyone else,” he recalled in a recent interview.
But Heinrich wasn’t prepared to like it as much as he did. “I really was blown away by the show — by the color, by the texture, by the whole way it was presented,” he said.
After returning to Denver and touting YSL to museum officials here, he called the exhibit’s organizer, the Fondation Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint Laurent. “I pulled all my French together and asked what plans were for it to travel. They said they had commitments in Brazil and Japan but there might be an opportunity for the U.S. in 2012. “I said ‘Fine. We want that.’”’
A couple of more trips to Paris followed to show foundation members that the Denver museum would be a great fit for the show. On one trip Heinrich brought French-speaking DAM director of exhibitions Michelle Assaf. “I tried to make the point we have a fabulous museum that is so cutting-edge that it would be wonderful to bring 40 years of fashion history to it from a designer who at his time was also very cutting-edge,” Heinrich said.
“We initially thought we’d look for a second partner (another museum), but that would have made the show a very short run for us.”
Now that the exhibit preparation is underway in the museum’s Hamilton wing — it opens to the public March 25 — Heinrich and the museum staff are trying to replicate the presentation that generated such enthusiasm among museum-goers in Paris and Madrid.
“I’m excited about the layout,” Heinrich says. “It shows again how flexible the (Daniel) Libeskind architecture is and how dramatic it can be in the hands of this very gifted exhibition designer, Natalie Criniére.”
URLs in this post:
 Yves Saint Laurent exhibition at the Denver Art Museum: http://www.denverpost.com/entertainment/ci_20183409/all-8200-about-yves
 “Yves Saint Laurent: The Retrospective.”: http://www.denverartmuseum.org/explore_art/temporaryExhibitionDetails/ex...
 Denver Art Museum: http://www.denverartmuseum.org/
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