5 minutes to meet Yves Saint Laurent

We celebrate the birthday of the fashion enfant terrible with a tour of his career.
Reading time 5 minutes

Little can be said about the great designer Yves Saint Laurent . His exceptional work spoke for itself. Impossible not to recognize him with his thick black lenses and his incomparable style that today is a complete empire in fashion. Her designs broke social conventions of her time and she dedicated her entire career to designing pieces that empowered women. At L´Officiel we celebrate what would be his 86th birthday, with a review of his legacy.

The Algerian-born designer was influenced by his mother's great passion for fashion and from a young age found refuge in design and textiles. At 17 he was the winner of the International Wool Secretariat , with the sketch of a cocktail dress . In the same contest was a young Karl Lagerfeld who would later become an icon as well.

The following year the legendary Christian Dior saw his sketches and invited him to collaborate at the Maison. After Dior's death, he was appointed creative director at age 21 and in 1958 he successfully presented the Trapezium collection on the catwalks .

Yves Saint Laurent in 1940 / Courtesy of the Musée Yves Saint Laurent Paris.

In 1960 he was selected to do military service in Algeria , which caused him several nervous breakdowns. During this period, the Dior brand was replaced by Marc Bohan , former assistant to Christian Dior , so Saint Laurent was stripped of his position. The designer decided to sue the brand and with the money he earned he founded his own Maison in 1962 .

Portrait of Yves Saint Laurent after the presentation of Trapezium on the balcony of the Christian Dior house, Paris, 1958. Photograph by Louis Dalmas / Courtesy of Dalmas / Sipa.


Yves Saint Laurent paid tribute to the Dutch painter Piet Mondrian with his unforgettable 1965 collection inspired by Neoplasticist paintings . Works like Composition C (III) from 1935 were reflected in dresses of the French brand and tried to be imitated around the world.

Saint Laurent and his partner and partner Pierre Bergé , a great art collector, opened the first Yves Saint Laurent store financed by the millionaire J. Mack Robinson . This is how in 1966 the first Rive Gauche boutique was opened in the IV District of Paris . Saint Laurent forever changed the fashion system as it was known until then with the first presentation of a ready-to-wear line.

Yves Saint Laurent in front of his Boutique, 1966 / Courtesy of Yves Saint Laurent.

Saint Laurent revolutionized the world of fashion with the tuxedo for women: Le Smoking in 1966. Before the suit was a garment reserved exclusively for men and no woman was allowed to enter restaurants with pants. The designer's creation empowered women to dress however they wanted. Bianca Jagger and her eternal muse Catherine Deneuve were the first to adopt the look in their wardrobe.

First tuxedo, Ulla, Haute Couture, autumn / winter, 1966. Photograph by Gérard Pataa. / Courtesy of the Musée Yves Saint Laurent Paris / Gérard Pataa - DR.

The 1960s marked the era of sexual liberation and gradually the figure of the woman gradually revealed itself. Yves Saint Laurent scandalized society in 1966 in sheer dresses. This is how the "nude look" emerged . Two years later she designed one of her most iconic proposals: a transparent chiffon dress with a belt made of ostrich feathers.

Danielle Luquet de Saint Germain, Fall / Winter Haute Couture, 1968. Photograph by Peter Caine (Sydney) / Courtesy of Peter Caine (Sydney).

For the 1967 Belle de Jour film , Yves Saint Laurent designed the complete wardrobe for actress Catherine Deneuve and her character Séverine Serizy , a young bourgeois woman who begins extramarital affairs in a brothel. The legendary Saint Laurent wardrobe gave the protagonist fragility and sensuality at the same time, especially the iconic black dress with a white collar.


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Yves Saint Laurent outside the Metropolitan Museum in New York in his 25-year retrospective on design, 1983 / Courtesy of the Musée Yves Saint Laurent Paris.

In 1983, the Metropolitan Museum of Art dedicated an exhibition to the designer. It was the first retrospective in the history of the museum for a designer who was still alive.


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Yves Saint Laurent at his retirement press conference, July, 2002. Photograph by William Stevens / Courtesy of William Stevens / Gamma-Rapho.

After a long career in fashion, creating a successful line of perfumes, makeup, home décor items and countless sketches and designs, the designer announced his retirement at a press conference on January 7, 2002 She finally passed away in 2008, but her legacy in fashion continues and her work is carefully filed at the Musée Yves Saint Laurent Paris . His eternal companion for over 50 years, Pierre Bergé , continues to promote the work of the enfant terrible of fashion.


1936 Born in Oran, Algeria, on August 1.

1953 Attended the École de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne

Dior Assistant 1954-57

1857-61 Creative Director of Dior

1962 He opened his own fashion house and presented his first collection

1993 The pharmaceutical company Sanofi takes control of the company

2000 He abandons the creative direction of his brand

2008 The designer passed away in Paris on June 1.

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