Yves Saint Laurent (YSL)

Powerful, strong, creative and haute couture, that is the designs of Yves Saint Laurent ..

Yves Saint Laurent

Yves Saint Laurent is a French Algerian designer who is without a doubt one of the most influential names in fashion history today.

Early Life

• Yves Henri Donat Mathieu-Saint-Laurent was born on the 1 August 1936, in Algeria.
• Growing up Saint Laurent took a liking to dressing paper dolls and by his teen years was designing clothing for his mother and sisters.
• At the age of 18, he moved to Paris and registered at the Chambre Syndicate de la Haute Couture, this is where his designs first got noticed and where he was introduced to fashion heavy weight Christian Dior.
• There after he was mentored by Dior.


• Even though Saint Laurent’s potential was spotted immediately, he still in his first year at House of Dior was tasked with duties such as decorating the office and designing accessories.
• However, he was given the chance every year to submit sketches for every season for the couture collection.
• Dior died in 1957, he was only 52 but he had already chosen that Saint Laurent would succeed him as a designer.
• In the same year, Saint Laurent at age of 21, became the lead designer at the House of Christian Dior.
• His 1958 spring collection, shot the young designer to global stardom, his straight line designs gave a softer version of Dior’s New Look, and some say his collection financially saved the company.
• His next collection was not quite as successful as his first, and the media criticized his work intensely.
• After the disastrous collection, Laurent joined the French Army in Algerian War of Independence.
• After 20 years in Military, Saint Lauren received the news that he was fired from House of Dior.
• In 1960 he sued House of Dior and won for breach of contract.
• Following this in 1961,  Saint Laurent along with his business partner, Pierre Berge went on to start their own fashion house called Yves Saint Laurent YSL.
• During the 1960’s & 1970’s, Saint Laurent was dubbed as one of Paris’s “jet sets” in the fashion industry.
• In 1969, Saint Laurent took his brand international by he opening his first YSL store in United States, in Madison Avenue, New York.
• During this time, he had launched multiple collections, which were all well received by his fans and press.
• In 1983, Laurent was the first living designer to be honoured by the Metropolitan Museum of Art with a solo exhibition.
• In the 1980’s, the YSL brand expanded by venturing into fragrances and cosmetics.
• By 1992, the company share price had fallen, and was bought by a pharmaceutical company Sonaofi.
• In 1993, Hedi Slimane was appointed as art and collections director. She decided to leave after only two years.
• In 1999, the YSL brand was then bought by Gucci (owned by PPR) and a ready-to-wear collection was designed by Tom Ford, while Saint Laurent designed the haute couture collection.
• In 2001, he was awarded the rank of Commander of the Legion d’Honneur by French president Jacques Chirac.
• In 2002, Saint Laurent designed his last Haute couture collection and respectfully retired.
• In 2008, Yves Saint Laurent passed away on the 1st June.
• In 2012, Kering (previously known as PPR) made the announcement that Hedi Slimane would once again be part of YSL, this time as Creative Director.


• The Yves Saint Laurent trademark/logo is YSL.
• His best associated with having introduced the women’s tuxedo suit, this is considered his style trademark.

Present day

• Today Hedi Slimane is still Creative Director of YSL.
• The ready-to-wear line was renamed to Saint Laurent, however the accessories such as shoes, bags and cosmetics lines are still are branded with the Yves Saint Laurent name.
• Today you can find YSL stores all around the world and in upscale department stores.

“Chanel freed women, I empowered them”- Yves Saint Laurent

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