YVES SAINT LAURENT — THE MAN WHO LIBERATED WOMEN
Born in 1936 in Oran, French Algeria, Yves Henri Donat Mathieu Saint Laurent never had any doubt about his destiny. His first foray to fashion took place at home, creating paper dolls and dresses for his mother and sisters, Michelle and Brigitte. Then at age 17 he flew to Paris where he had a meeting destined to change his life (and career) forever: with Monsieur Christian Dior, eventually to become his right-hand man. In 1957, upon Dior's death, the choice of successor fell naturally to Saint Laurent, at the tender age of twenty.
But not all (couture) dreams last forever. In 1960 he was forced to join the French army to take part in the war of independence in Algeria. From the golden Parisian ateliers to the arid battlefields, the shock was too great and the young, delicate Saint Laurent became deeply unhappy and was admitted to the Bégin military hospital in Saint-Mandé. This is where the terrible news reached him: Marc Bohan has replaced him as the creative director of the Dior fashion house. The clinical state of Saint Laurent worsened and l'enfant prodige of French fashion was subjected to severe psychiatric treatments from which, he will later declare, he will never really recovered.
It was his great passion that saved him. Back in Paris, he had the second most important meeting of his life: with Pierre Bergé. It was with him that in 1961, thanks to the money from the compensation obtained from Dior, he founded his maison. And the rest is fashion history.
In 1965 he created the Mondrian dress, inspired by the Dutch painter's primary color art. In 1966 he dared to create a feminine tuxedo: for the first time women are free to wear a full jacket-trousers à la garçonne feeling unequivocally feminine. In 1967 he introduced the romantic explorer Saharan jacket, with which he fascinated his friends-muses: Betty Catroux and Loulou de la Falaise. In 1968 he inaugurated the nude look: showing on the catwalk transparent dresses that revealed nipples. Magazines refusde to publish them, but their revolutionary reach preceded them.
In 1971 he (also) broke the rules by modelling for himself: portrayed naked by Jeanloup Sieff to promote his Eau de Toilette pour Homme. In 1977 he continued to provoke with another (feminine) perfume that he baptized with the name of a drug: Opium. In 1983 he became the first living stylist to whom the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (MET) dedicated a retrospective (the second was Rei Kawakubo by Comme des Garçons, in 2017). His career continued on a path between brilliant successes and relapses into depression. art collecting and drug addiction, journeys to Marrakech and Parisian salons, fulminating passions and a single, long and unavoidable love, who accompaned him without ifs and buts to his deathbed: Pierre Bergé.
Ten years after his death, the myth and aesthetics of Saint Laurent are more alive than ever. They live again in the streets, in women's wardrobes and in the hearts of those that knew the fragile, brilliant, defenseless artist. They reappear punctually every season on the catwalk of the maison that still proudly bears his name, today entrusted to the creativity of Anthony Vaccarello and designed by Tom Ford, Stefano Pilati and Hedi Slimane. They return without ceasing to surprise, digging into that extraordinary archive built with passion in their 40-year career and today celebrated with two Yves Saint Laurent museums: in Paris and Marrakech. Two cities that symbolize both his life and his vision. “Fashion is not art but to make clothes you have to be an artist”, he loved to repeat. And he undoubtedly was an artist. Merci Monsieur. (Courtesy of ELLE magazine)
Bianca Jagger in smoking Yves Saint Laurent 1979
Fall Winter 1982-83
Laetitie Casta YSL Haute Couture 1999
Smoking Saint Laurent
The last Yves Saint Laurent show in 2002
YSL 1981-1982 Matisse
YSL at work in his atelier 1965
YSL Bride 1997 Claudia Schiffer
YSL FALL WINTER 1994 Kate Moss
YSL in his Atelier
YSL Pret a porter spring summer 1984
YSL Spring Summer 1988
Loulou de la Falaise Yves Saint Laurent 70s
Yves Saint Laurent haute Couture Autunno-Inverno 1982-1983