Yves Saint Laurent

Yves Saint Laurent

Yves Saint Laurent Designer History:
Yves Henri -Donat Matthieu- Saint Laurent was born on August 1, 1936, in Oran, Algeria where he grew up and by the age of 17 left for Paris. There he revealed his sketches to Michel de Brunhoff, manager of Vogue, who publicized a number of them immediately. Soon after a course at fashion school, Saint Laurent was presented to Christian Dior by de Brunhoff and he began to work for Dior until the time of his death in 1957.

When acquiring the position of art director for Dior, Saint Laurent presented his first selection for the house, the Ligne Trapeze, for that year. It was an unquestionable success throughout the globe that gained him a Neiman Marcus Oscar award. In 1960, Saint Laurent developed his groundbreaking "Beat Look" range that utilized couture methods to improve street style. Nevertheless, his spectacular creations appeared to be excessive for the house of Dior and a year later they secretly asked that the designer be conscripted on his national service after the disastrous 1960 season.

When he came back from service in 1962, Saint Laurent established his own fashion house with Pierre Berge and carried on surprising the fashion world. In 1966, he presented le smoking, his famous smoking suit, which motivated the resultant androgynous-epicene trend. Today he is acknowledged with a selection of additional designs such as the reefer coat (1962), the sheer blouse (1966), and the jumpsuit (1968), including the total ready-to-wear lifestyle concept.

In October 1998, Yves Saint Laurent demonstrated his last ready-to-wear series for the Rive Gauche brand he had formed over three decades before. However, based on a sad spokeswoman, the 61-year old designer was just simply too nervous to take his final bow. American designer Alber Elbaz was selected to succeed him, who however discovered that his career there was quickly ended after the Italian fashion House Gucci acquired entire management of the business at the end of 1999 and passed control to giant designer Tom Ford. Yves Saint Laurent maintained management of the haute couture company and carried on displaying in Paris each season. Nowadays, the accomplishment of the Saint Laurent Empire he built and sold on is enormous: the enterprise creates menswear, furs, jewelry, fragrances and a collection of accessories, all of which are distributed worldwide.

Throughout his career, Saint Laurent was probably the fashions world’s most significant designer. Through the years, he acquired numerous awards: in 1985, he was announced as Chevalier of the Legion of Honour by President Francois Mitterand; in 1995, he was elevated to the position of Officer of the Legion of Honour, and six years later eventually turned into a Commandeur. His reputation as a national star was also confirmed when, at the final of the 1998 World Cup, close to Paris, 300 models showed a retrospective of YSL masterpieces, to celebrate the designer's four decades in fashion, before 80,000 football fans and over 170 international sports channels.

The 65-year-old designer declared his retirement in January 2002. Honoring his mentors, including Christian Dior, Balenciaga, Schiaparelli and Chanel, he unveiled that his judgment was centered on outrage with an industry that had turned into domination by financial gain over art. "I have nothing in common with this new world of fashion, which has been reduced to mere window-dressing," he said. "Elegance and beauty have been banished." The announcement arrived only 16 days ahead of his closing haute couture collection show. In an appropriate finale to his forty-year career, the exhibition combined a detailed retrospective of his creations: lasting more than an hour and a half, it included more than 250 outfits, 40 of them new styles, and 100 models. A tearful Yves Saint Laurent made his final bow as his long-time muse, Catherine Deneuve, sang Ma Plus Belle Histoire d'Amour.

In 2007, he was granted the rank of Grand officier de la Légion d'honneur by French President Nicolas Sarkozy. He passed away on June 1, 2008 from brain cancer at his house in Paris.

Yves Saint Laurent Fragrance History:
He presented the first women's perfume, Y in 1964 and in 1971, the design house introduced its Rive Gauche perfume; that same year, Jean Loup Sieff photographed Yves naked for the advertising campaign of his first men's cologne YSL Pour Hommes. 1977 saw the launch of the legendary Opium perfume. Additional YSL fragrance choices feature Baby Doll and Cinema perfumes along with Young, Sexy Lovely or YSL, a play on the designer's initials. Most recent women’s fragrances include the Paris Premieres Roses, Parisienne and Elle perfume all with several seasonal editions while the latest new fragrance in the collection is Manifesto. In the men’s series we have L’Homme and Kouros again with numerous seasonal releases.

See all Fragrances by Yves Saint Laurent


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