A Tribute to a Great Fashion Designer
Yves Saint Laurent, one of the most influential and enduring designers of the 20th century, and a favorite of many fashionistas, died on Sunday evening in Paris, aged 71. There can be little doubt that Saint Laurent was up there with the best, Coco Chanel and Christian Dior.
At just aged 21 the talented Algerian-born Yves Saint Laurent became Haute Couture designer when he took over the House of Dior after the sudden death of the legendary Christian Dior in 1957. The year after, Dior launched Saint Laurent's first solo collection the "trapeze" line, a youthful silhouette that started with narrow shoulders and a raised waistline, then flared out gently to a wide hemline. The collection was a big hit and the name Yves Saint Laurent was well on its way to becoming a household name across the fashion capitals of Europe and the United States. Saint Laurent was credited with having saved the House of Dior from financial ruin.
In late 1961, Saint Laurent announced plans to open his own haute couture house in partnership with his lover, Pierre Bergé. The first Yves Saint Laurent collection was shown on January 19, 1962. I love this incomplete black and white video talking about the release of Yves Saint Laurent's 1962 collection. "The new collection is about to be unveiled. Last winter's had a mixed reception. His career's at stake. If it's a flop, he'll have to close his house.Or he could be the Dior of tomorrow. It depends on those who shape public opinion. Helena Rubinstein, Blackwell, Virginia Pope, Marie Louise Bousuquet, Kurt Lang, Shepherd, Theron of Paris Match...."
So once again Saint Laurent was a big hit. It was the beginning of a success story that led eventually to a ready-to-wear line sold in the designer's own Rive Gauche boutiques around the world.
The iconic Yves Saint Laurent revolutionized fashion forever by putting women in pants without sacrificing their femininity. His fashions have often been the first choice of royalty and movie stars. Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Lopez, Katie Holmes and Victoria Beckham were among his many celebrity fans.
Yves Saint Laurent is quoted as having often said that he wished that he had invented blue jeans "the most spectacular, the most practical, the most relaxed and nonchalant. They have expression, modesty, sex appeal, simplicity - all I hope for in my clothes." One of Yves Saint Laurent's most often repeated mantras is that "fashions fade, style is eternal." When it comes to fashion the name Yves Saint Laurent will indeed become eternal. Rest In Peace, Monsieur St. Laurent.