In the early 20th century, a French artist of the Art Nouveau style named Jacques Majorelle left his home in Nancy to install himself in Marrakesh, Morocco. Inspired by the vibrant hues of the neighboring Berber homes, he built a home and gardens in a most singular color: the electric blue hence known as Bleu Majorelle, or Majorelle blue.
In 1966, two visitors to the garden found themselves seduced by the “colors of Matisse mixed with those of nature.” Yves Saint Laurent and his partner, Pierre Bergé, went on to buy the property in 1980 and initiate a full renovation.
For many years, the garden and its colors were an inexhaustible source of inspiration for Saint Laurent. Upon his death in 2008, his ashes were scattered at his Moroccan garden.
The color that decorates every inch of this garden is truly unique. It is balanced on a fulcrum between natural and unnatural, between cool and warm. It has the bite of acidity but also the sweetness of cream. It looks hot like a flame and it looks alive.
Bleu Majorelle is bottled for global consumption as one of the core shades of YSL’s La Laque Couture. It is one of those rare shades that is deeply linked to the story of a brand and absolutely un-dupe-able. It is a powerful symbol for the electricity of the YSL aesthetic.
This nail varnish is one of my five favorite colors of all time. It has an energy to it that perfectly expresses a sometimes inexpressible state of mind. It feels audacious and resolute.
But the most surprising thing about this nail polish is that it offends people in a funny way. I have more than once worn it to parties and heard whispers about it, and once even got a negative comment from a well-dressed Parisian lady on the street. Something about the color seems to provoke the well-bred.
Pretty powerful for a shade of blue.