Designer 101: Yves Saint Laurent

Yves Saint Laurent by Jeanloup Sieff, 1971

 

———-1936———-

Yves Saint Laurent is born in Oran, Algeria as Yves Henri Donat Matthieu-Saint-Laurent.

———-1954———-

Saint Laurent moves to Paris, France to study at the Chambre Syndicale de la Couture, the school that also trained Valentino and Karl Lagerfeld. Soon after arriving, he was introduced to Dior by the editor of French Vogue, Michel de Brunoff.

———-1957———-

Saint Laurent becomes the haute couture designer for Dior when the designer died. He was just 21 years old.

———-1961———-

Yves Saint Laurent founds his eponymous fashion house with partner Pierre Bergé.

Veruschka wearing the iconic Yves Saint Laurent safari jacket photographed by Franco Rubartelli for Vogue

Le Smoking Suit by Yves Saint Laurent

Rive Gauche RTW 1966

———-1966———-

YSL creates arguably the most famous classic tuxedo suit for women, Le Smoking Suit. Throughout the ’60s and ’70s the fashion house popularizes fashion trends such as the beatnik look, safari jackets, the jumpsuit, thigh-high boots, and others. Some of the most famous collections during this time include the Pop Art, Ballet Russes and Picasso. Saint Laurent also starts mainstreaming the idea of wearing silhouettes from the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s. In this year he increases the desire for ready-to-wear in an attempt to democratize fashion, with Rive Gauche and a boutique of the same name.[3]

———-1980’s – 1990’s———-

The brand continues to expand with fragrances for both men and women, having launched its cosmetic line in 1978. In the 1998–1999 seasons, Alber Elbaz designed three ready-to-wear collections.

———-1997———-

Pierre Bergé appoints Hedi Slimane as Collections and Art Director, re-launching YSL Rive Gauche.

———-1998———-

Yves Saint Laurent shows his last ready-to-wear collection for the Rive Gauche label he had founded more than 30 years before.

———-1999———-

Tom Ford arrives to take control at the house designing RTW, while Saint Laurent designs the haute couture collections. The brand enters the stratosphere where it remains today, covering perfume and menswear as well as womenswear.

Yves Saint Laurent holding hands with model Laetitia Casta (left) and actress Catherine Deneuve after his final runway show.

———-2002———-

At his last show, a tearful Yves Saint Laurent takes his final bow as his long-time muse, Catherine Deneuve, sings Ma Plus Belle Histoire d’Amour. Stefano Pilati, who replaces Tom Ford in 2005, continues Yves Saint Laurent’s message that “dressing is a way of life”.

———-2008———-

Yves Saint Laurent dies after a long period of ill health at his home in Paris on June 1, 2008. He was 71.

———-2015———-

Hedi Slimane, Creative Director of the fashion house, announces he will revive Yves Saint Laurent’s couture line.