News60 years of fashion by Yves Saint Laurent

60 years of fashion by Yves Saint Laurent

A milestone in fashion history was set on January 29, 1962: Yves Saint Laurent presented the first collection under his name. To mark the 60th anniversary, six Parisian museums are now honoring him with exhibitions.

Paris – Two hours before the start of the parade, the streets around Rue Spontini are congested. Long lines form in front of house number 30. Celebrities like writer Françoise Sagan and dancer Zizi Jeanmaire make their way to the front row.

Many expect great things from this January 29, 1962. At 10.30am, Yves Saint Laurent, the prodigy of the Paris fashion world, would present the first designs from his couture house.

However, the reviews for his debut are mixed. Great things come later: Yves Saint Laurent will invent the tuxedo for women, make the safari style popular, pave the way for the “nude look” with transparent fabrics, and translate the works of great artists such as Mondrian or Picasso into clothing. He will shape the way women dress.

Following in big footsteps at the age of 21

Yves Henri Donat Mathieu-Saint Laurent, his full name, was born on August 1, 1936 in Oran, Algeria. Even as a child he examined the clothes of his mother and aunts, he loved books and the theater and drew. It’s also an escape from reality. His classmates tease and beat him. They sense what Yves Saint Laurent recognized early on: he is homosexual.

In 1953 he took part in a renowned design competition, took third place, moved to Paris and in 1955 became an assistant to the most famous couturier of the time: Christian Dior. He recognizes and encourages talent. And so, at just 21 years old, Yves Saint Laurent was named his successor after Dior’s death in 1957.

inspiration for life

The high flight ends abruptly when he is drafted into military service in 1960. The designer collapses under the harshness of life in the barracks, is sent to a mental hospital and is sedated with medication. And he loses his job at Dior.

At this point, there was already a man at his side who would give structure to the fragile nature of Saint Laurent and his creative genius for decades to come: Pierre Bergé, life and business partner in one. It is thanks to him that the designer is able to open his own couture house at all – Bergé acquires the start-up capital through an investor.

Against taboos, for diversity

But the status of haute couture is already crumbling. Pop art, Beatles mania, swinging London: in the 1960s, young people thirst for something new. Also in fashion. The elite art of tailoring is considered decadent. Saint Laurent adapted and opened the first “Rive Gauche” boutique in Paris in 1966. Under this name he had launched a line for high-quality ready-made clothing, the prêt-à-porter. He later penetrated the mass market by granting licenses. Even the textile giant C&A had products with the famous “YSL” logo in the 1980s.

Yves Saint Laurent

+

Models present creations from French fashion house Saint Laurent’s Spring Summer 2022 collection during Paris Fashion Week.

Saint Laurent keeps breaking social taboos, advertising one of its perfumes naked, for example, and has been working with black models since before anyone was even thinking about diversity.

Wild Nights

His lifestyle is just as legendary as his fashion. He uses drugs and alcohol and throws wild parties. “We were like terrible and spoiled children who only thought about themselves and their fun,” Betty Catroux recalled in an interview for “Die Welt” in 2020 about the licentiousness of that time. The model is one of the designer’s muses alongside Loulou de la Falaise and actress Catherine Deneuve.

The consequences of such excesses: anxiety, breakdowns. But his fans remain loyal to him, even when his collections are no longer brilliant. “One of the keys to Saint Laurent’s commercial success was creating clothes that women loved to wear,” writes Alice Rawsthorn in her 1996 biography of Yves Saint Laurent. “He didn’t dress his clients like objects of pleasure.”

“Basically, I’m still a kid”

Yves Saint Laurent retired from the fashion world on January 22, 2002 with a retrospective parade at the Center Pompidou in Paris. Other designers such as Tom Ford and Hedi Slimane will design under his name in the future. Since 2016, the creative director of the label has been Anthony Vaccarello.

Yves Saint Laurent

+

French designer Yves Saint Laurent at the Center Georges Pompidou art gallery, where the designer’s last haute couture show was held.

“Basically, I remained a child, so I could always surprise myself and others,” Yves Saint Laurent finds in an interview with the US magazine “Talk” in 2000, a formula for his success. He died on June 1, 2008 at the age of 71.

The exhibition project “Yves Saint Laurent aux musées” now shows how important his work was. From January 29th to May 15th, six Parisian museums, including the Musée d’Orsay and the Musée du Louvre, will be dedicated to the work of the great couturier. dpa

Woman gives birth to baby in Place de la Concorde

As is so often the case, traffic was backed up on the Place de la Concorde in the French capital. When two police officers noticed a frantically honking man, the birth was already in full swing.

France is relaxing – from this Monday the mask requirement will largely fall

France is largely easing its corona restrictions. From now on there is no longer a general obligation to wear a mask indoors.

Police officers threatened with knives: Marseille attacker dead

What does the word "neutralized" mean in French? Now it's clear: a man threatened police officers with a gun. Now he is dead.

Man threatened police officers in Marseille with knife

A Frenchman unknown to the police threatened police officers in Marseille with a knife on Saturday. No information was given as to whether the attacker was killed or not.

The moving cinema documentary “The Snow Leopard”

You can now take part in the patient search for a rare big cat in Tibet for around 90 minutes. Boring? Not at all. The award-winning documentary "The Snow Leopard" also has a very calming effect in times of crisis.

More