Anyone who is invested in the high fashion world would know the fashion brand that has conquered the fashion game, Yves Saint Laurent and also known as YSL. Founded in 1961 by Yves Saint Laurent and his partner Pierre Berge, YSL made a name for itself as one of the most prominent fashion houses of the century.
YSL stood out in the fashion industry for his step into creating luxury fashion garments that was completely out of the box but his journey to reach that stage wasn’t an easy path at all, as it has been for many other legendary designers.
Laurent did not have an easy childhood even though his family was relatively well off. He was often times bullied in his school by the students for appearing to be homosexual, and as a result his confidence was stooped to the lowest point. His only way to cope was to completely indulge himself into the world of fashion and spent his hours creating paper dolls, later in his early teens he started to design dresses for his mother and two sisters.
A few years later, his life took a total turn when his mother took him to Paris to meet the editor of French Vogue, Michael de Brunhoff. Soon after Laurent left his country and ventured to Paris to work for another legendary designer, Christian Dior, who he was introduced to by Brunhoff, where he was applauded for his dress designs.
All the pieces in the puzzle seemed to have aligned for Laurent until he was called back to leave Paris and go to his country, Algeria to fight for their independence. Although, he managed to tackle the situation and return back to Paris, he no longer had his job with Christian Dior upon his arrival. Completely caught off-guard by the situation, Laurent decided to sue his for mentor for £48,000 for breach of contract and stepped out of court successfully.
The turning point came for Laurent at the point when he and his partner decided to use the money to open their own fashion house. With the need for original, innovative and unique designs in the fashion industry, this was the perfect opportunity for Laurent to use his talent and make a name for himself.
Laurent held an upper hand in the fashion industry because he wasn’t afraid to step out of his comfort zone and took fashion risks; this in itself boosted his influence in the fashion industry. In 1961 he established a revolutionary take on women’s fashion by taking inspiration by the structure and style of men’s garments and using ideas from that to push gender fluidity in fashion, completely changing the norms of the fashion industry. He was also the first, in 1966, to popularize ready-to-wear designs and wasn’t afraid to use black models to display his collections on the runway.
Some of the most notable collections of Yves Saint Laurent include the Pop Art, Ballet Russes, Picasso and Chinese ones. He also started mainstreaming the idea of wearing traditional silhouettes from the 1920’s to the 1940’s. Over the next couple of decades, YSL’s design conquered the fashion world with models and celebrities flaunting his designs.
He introduced “Le Smoking” which transformed women’s wear and garnered him fame fashion industry as someone who is not to be trifled with. He dressed women in sharply tailored black blazers and smoking jackets and let them strut the runway. His signature pieces complied of sheer blouses, and well-structured jumpsuits. Even today, long after the introduction of YSL in the fashion industry, Le Smoking remains as his signature style and defines the impact it made and still remains iconic in the industry. It also made an appearance in the French Vogue at the time.
In 1983, Laurent became the first living fashion designer to receive a solo exhibition in New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, making him a true icon. His success and accomplishments only seemed to grow further and further over the decades. In 2002, Saint Laurent decided to retired to Marrakech after partaking in what would be his last fashion show.
Years after, in 2008, Saint Laurent had passed a the age of 71, in his home in Paris after being ill for a long time. The French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, honored Saint Laurent for his role and importance in the French culture and honored him with Grand Officer of the Legion d’honnerur. Saint Laurent’s name and fashion brand still continues to hold one of the top most positions in the fashion industry and has even ventured onto other aspects of the industry. The success and accomplishments of YSL only seems to grow as a highly desirable brand and is nowhere near the end.
Read more FASHION articles HERE