Summer at the de Young

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Discover the vibrant colors, styles and drama of Spain without leaving the city. Escape in the elegance of a blood red coat, pink silk on black lace and the emotion evoked by a black matador bolero jacket, embroidered in gold and red stitching.

This summer consider spending one of the first Tuesdays of the month inside the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park. The de Young is unique in that it offers more than flat paintings hanging on a wall or statues frozen in orderly spaces. It offers color, imagination, and innovation.

Every year the museum displays influential pieces by renowned fashion designers, such as Yves Saint Laurent, and Vivian Westwood. This summer they are showing influential designs by Balenciaga and Spain. The show runs until July 4.

The designers showcased are chosen not for fame but for their creative ability to challenge and change culture and ideas.

Cristobal Balenciaga became a world famous Spanish fashion designer in the 1950s. By using sensually bold color pallets of black, red and pink with lace, Balenciaga transformed classic shape patterns. Designing clothes that moved away from proper waistlines and proportions, he created new women silhouettes.

“The exhibit showed me how versatile and inventive Balenciaga was as a designer,” says Erica Chang, 24, a graduate student at SF State. “His Spanish influence is apparent in the majority of his designs, which consisted of simple lines that tastefully flatter the female form.”

Students of all studies will get something out of the experience, whether it is inspiration or entertainment.

“It has a lot to offer in terms of thinking about fashion, perspective, style, and colors. It also reminds us to be inventive and trust our instincts, which we can easily forget.” Chang says. “There was this dress that was spectacular. It was a red, strapless, short, silk cocktail dress. It had presence, or, gave the impression that whoever wore it would radiate a presence-like she existed.”

De Young holds an event every Friday night from 6 p.m. to 8:45 p.m., and for six dollars you can drink free wine and explore certain exhibits at no extra fee. Olmec, the master artworks of ancient Mexico, is the signature show for their Friday night event and will continue till May 8. In June they launch their Picasso exhibition.

On a budget? Visit the de Young on the first Tuesday of any month for free admission. Students with a valid ID get a discount during regular visiting hours, which are Tuesday through Sunday.