When Saint Laurent had Yves
“I tried to show that fashion is an art. For that, I followed the counsel of my master Christian Dior and the imperishable lesson of Mademoiselle Chanel. I created for my era and I tried to foresee what tomorrow would be.” -Yves Saint Laurent.
Born and raised beautifully in Paris. The YSL house has since seen every corner of the globe. Monsieur Saint Laurent was ahead of his time and created a foundation so strong that his vision stayed through for decades. The brand’s story starts with the story of its creator of course. The European fashion designer was born in Oran, Algeria in 1936. During this teenage years, Yves Saint Laurent left to go to Paris and work for Cristian Dior.
This was made possible after his mother took him to Paris to meet Michael de Brunhoff, the editor of French Vogue. After the young teen impressed the editor with his drawings, he was also introduced to Cristian Dior. The designer had this to share about his mentor of sorts. "I couldn't speak in front of him. He taught me the basis of my art. Whatever was to happen next, I never forgot the years I spent at his side." During his tenure, Yves Saint Laurent gained much praise for his designs.
Then, in 1966, the designer took the plunge and launched his own fashion label with the help of Pierre Berge. He adapted tuxedos for women and quickly rose to fame. In fact, he was the first designer who was alive when he received a solo exhibition in New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1983. The designer continued to bring a breath of fresh air with his designs like blazers and smoking jackets for women and even introducing new articles of clothing like the ‘pea coat’ to the runway. Among his signature designs are the jumpsuit and sheer blouse.
While the road wasn’t always smooth for Yves Saint Laurent, he persevered and made it through. In January 2002, Yves Saint Laurent took part in his final runway show and then proceed to retire in Marrakech. A short five years later, the designer was recognized for his important influence on French culture. This was solidified when he was appointed as Grand Officer of the Legion d'honnerur by Nicolas Sarkozy, the French President.
During his time, Yves made some prolific moments possible. Either for his brand or the fashion culture. For example, he was the first designer who featured ethnic models in his runway shows. He was also the first to reference other cultures in his work which included his Russian Collection in 1976. One of Yves Saint Laurent’s most famous muses was supermodel Iman. In 1977, the perfume Opium was launched. This distinct scent has since become a classic and is known the world over.
It was a dark time for the brand in 2008. The designer passed on in Paris on June 1st, 2008. There hasn’t been another like Yves, but his legacy continues as the brand clothes some of the world’s most elite and popular folk in addition to providing beautiful designs for fashion lovers the world over. One thing that remains is that Saint Laurent never compromises on its signature style yet stays fresh and innovative.
The years sans Yves; the legacy continues
The YSL brand suffered an immense loss with the passing of its creator, however the brand continues to produce top notch designs for the fashion inclined. Here are a few key moments in the brand’s history after Yves.
- 2002- Yves St Laurent decides to retire and on January 22nd a retrospective show depicting 40 years of his creations is held at the Centre de Pompidou in Paris. This marked the closing of the Haute Couture house. Although the house does not exist, the brand still lives on through the company Gucci Group
- On December 5th the Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint Laurent Foundation is created. The foundation was to trace the history of the house of YSL, which included 15,000 objects and 5,000 pieces of clothing
- In June 2002, Stefano Pilati was promoted to head of design for all of Yves St Laurent product lines, including accessories
- Two years later, Stefano Pilati was given the role of Creative Director at YSL after Tom Ford’s departure
- On June 1st 2008, Yves Saint Laurent passes away from brain cancer at his home in Paris. He was cremated and his ashes were scattered in Marrakech, Morocco in the botanical gardens, Majorelle Garden, that often served as his inspiration
- In 2012, Hedi Slimane takes over Creative Director at YSL and changes the name to St Laurent, the brand’s logo remains the same, but its headquarters were moved to L.A.
Cloaking the famous, powerful and beautiful the world over
Luxurious, sensual and made for the modern woman, Saint Laurent has been a favorite of many stars. From the likes of Angelina Jolie, Eva Longoria, Salma Hayek, Victoria Beckham, Chloe Sevigny, Renee Zellweger, Halle Berry, Olivia Palermo, Ashley Tisdale, Ashley Benson, Cameron Diaz, Celine Dion, Kate Beckinsale, Lady Gaga, Kristen Cavallari, Kourtney Kardashian, Kim Kardashian and Jessica Simpson, Saint Laurent continues to remain a relevant name in fashion both on the runway and off. Entertainment royalty, Angela Simmons has also been spotted carrying her Sac De Jour Bag. Even famed Fashion Stylist, Rachel Zoe has been photographed with her YSL bag.
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Fashion Historian, Author, Writer, Curator and Appraiser, Caroline Rennolds Milbank, wrote in 1985, “The most consistently celebrated and influential designer of the past twenty-five years, Yves Saint Laurent can be credited with both spurring the couture’s rise from its sixties ashes and with finally rendering ready-to-wear reputable”.
What we love is that this quote sums up the Saint Laurent empire perfectly. A brand that continues to exceed expectations, creating need with new designs, exciting releases and staying true to its rich roots. In this digital age, you can get your dose of high fashion right here on our portal.
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