Monday, February 22, 2010

Power Designers: Yves Saint Laurent

by Jenny Seo

Yves Saint Laurent
1 August 1936 – 1 June 2008
“Fashion fades, style is eternal,” YSL

YSL above by Warhol, 1974

Unmistakably known as the “King of Fashion,” Yes Saint Laurent stays true to his label and title. Yves Saint Laurent’s fashion career rocketed after winning the International Wool Secretariat contest and was immediately recruited to work for Christian Dior. After Dior passed away, Saint Laurent was appointed as head Haute Couture designer in 1958. Saint Laurent was twenty-one years old. However, after Saint Laurent came back from fulfilling his military obligations, he was replaced at the House of Dior, and he opened up his own couture house in 1962, which was financially backed by Pierre Berge.

In the online article entitled, “Yves Saint Laurent, French Fashion Designer, Dies,” by Sara Gay Forden, Forden imparts the news of the death of a fashion “prodigy,” Yves Saint Laurent. Forden highlights Yves Saint Laurent’s pinnacle moments of his designing career and his rise to fame and recognition, which eventually marked him into a renowned icon in the fashion world. Saint Laurent was deemed a “savior” because of his fashion success at the house of Dior. This is because the house of Dior was “responsible for almost 50 percent of French fashion exports at the time” which was crucial towards the French economy.

Yves Saint Laurent fist came into public attention when he took over the house of Dior at the death of its founder in 1957.

The photo above shows a YSL design for Dior, taken by Avedon

Yves Saint Laurent was not just an advocate for women, but a visionary and an achiever to say the least. “Saint Laurent ‘wanted a woman to reconcile the two fundamental requirements that always guided his personal life: freedom and elegance,' Bernard Arnault, chairman of Christian Dior SA, said today in a statement (Forden).“ Saint Laurent was probably best known for inventing the woman tuxedo, known as “Le Smoking,” which he first introduced in 1966.

Yves Saint Laurent was not only a powerful designer but also socially connected and well liked throughout his career.

The first store opened in 1966 and the original monogram logo has been maintained.

YSL's most known pieces were the Mondrian inspired dress, 1965 and the female tux which appeared throughout his career below in 2002

Yves Saint Laurent served as costume designer for Belle du Jour, 1967

Below YSL at home in 1974.

``His humility was the mark of his genius.'' While, Yves Saint Laurent created class pieces of clothing, he was not afraid to step out of the box. Forden pinpoints how every time Saint Laurent was impeded by a hindrance, he still bounced back and made a comeback in the fashion community. No designer, company, or critic hindered him from delivering his outlooks on fashion. Not only did Yves Saint Laurent create a new concept of fashion, but he expanded his business with perfume licenses, and even opening men’s wear. Yves Saint Laurent elevated haute couture and the fashion world to the next altitude.

The Opium perfume launch was considered one of the most successful perfume brandings ever, below 1976 the original advertisement, "for those devoted to YSL."

Today YSL is designed by Italian designer Stefano Pilati

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