YVES SAINT LAURENT
(1936; France) From a young age he showed a keen interest in design and at the age of 17 he won a design contest for his cocktail dress and soon found himself employed by Christian Dior. After Dior died in 1957 he took over as art director for Dior. In 1958 he launched his first collection for the company, the Ligne Trapèze It was a resounding success which he repeated the next year with his “Knee length”. In 1960, Saint-Laurent found himself conscripted to serve in the French Army during the Algerian War of Independence and he was fired by the famous maison.
Afterwards, in 1962 he set up his own fashion house and introduced other inventions, such as op-art (Knee-high boots, sheer blouse dresses and tunics). His style was a great success, essential but with a special attention to fabrics; his woman suits were comparable to Chanel ones. He was a constant innovator, a modernizer of the female image. He anticipated the other fashion designers : decades before Giorgio Armani, Yves Saint-Laurent clothing glamorized for women some items taken from the male wardrobe, such as the blazer, the safari jacket, the tuxedo, the trench coat, the pant suit, the leather jacket. Among his invention are the fur coats , the woman tuxedo and the gipsy skirts
Most of his collections took inspiration from arts and culture, there were homages to his art buddies, Andy Warhol, Picasso, Matisse, Braque, Mondrian , David Hockney, when the art-fashion binomial was still a novelty. He was the first to propose a folk ethnic mixture, inspired from Africa , India, Morocco and Spain enriching most of his collections. His Arabic origins influenced him in his original combination of colors and his taste for embroideries and particular fabric prints.
Yves Saint-Laurent had also genial business intuitions, anticipating his colleagues, effectively turning his modern ideas into industrial products.
His fashion house officially closed in 2002, but the brand still survives under the control of Gucci group, the prêt-a-porter line is still being produced under the direction of Stefano Pilati after Tom Ford retired in 2004.