The full name of the famous Yves Saint Laurent sounds like Yves Henri Donat Mathieu Saint-Laurent. He was born, as is already understandable, in a well-to-do family, in colonial Algeria. The father of the future legendary French couturier dreamed that his son would become a lawyer. In addition, Yves studied well at school. But the prospect of giving up life to the courts and law did not appeal to the teenager, and his mother took his side.
Young St. Laurent still doubted who he was – a fashion designer or a theater artist. Studying in high school, Eve, thanks to his beautiful mother Lucienne, got to Paris. There the noble lady introduced her son to the editor-in-chief of Vogue. When Michel de Brunoff saw the sketches of Yves Saint Laurent, he immediately realized what a potentially talented fashion designer was in front of him. So the young man decided on his future.
In 1954, at the age of 18, Eve graduated from high school and came to Paris. In the capital of style Saint-Laurent entered the fashion school, where in the autumn of the same year he took part in the contest of young fashion designers. He was able to win the main prize for his sketch, thanks to the presence on the cocktail dress of an unusual asymmetrical cutout. In the same competition participated and the beginning German fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld, who was awarded a prize for his coat.
In the fate of Yves Saint Laurent continued to participate Michel de Brunoff – he evaluated the sketches, gave advice and acquainted with useful people. One day Eve came with a few new sketches in which the astonished patron discovered a striking resemblance to the sketches of Christian Dior’s collection. But he also did not show them to the general public. Then de Brunoff turned to the great couturier and asked him to meet with Saint-Laurent.
As a result of the meeting, the beginning 18-year-old designer was offered a job in the famous fashion house Dior. The work of Yves Saint Laurent was highly appreciated, as a result he quickly became the maestro’s right hand, and then he was even declared an heir. In September 1957, Dior went on vacation, leaving his business for a young assistant. However, on vacation, the designer had a heart attack, as a result of which Dior died. So young Yves Saint Laurent suddenly became the face of a large fashion house.
The new chapter began with the fact that slightly changed the traditional style of Dior. In January 1958 the first independent collection of Yves Saint Laurent was presented. The Frenchman showed the public new dress-trapezoid free silhouette. Newspapers crumbled in compliments, the 21-year-old fashion designer was declared the savior of the national fashion. The successful collection immediately increased the sales of Dom Dior by 35%.
However, the young fashion designer soon began to thicken clouds. The house-owned textile magnate Marcel Boussac did not appreciate the creative direction that the young genius chose. The conservatives were alarmed by the experiments that St. Laurent began to conduct – he dared to cross democratic street fashion with a high style. And the public began to perceive new collections more quietly – the next five shows did not cause a special excitement.
In 1960, Yves Saint Laurent was drafted into the army. It was rumored that this service was arranged by none other than Bussak. However, in the army, Saint-Laurent was only two weeks. He experienced such a shock from the change in the situation that he experienced a strong nervous breakdown. The next couple of months of his life the fashion designer spent in the Paris psychiatric hospital. I must say that this period was reflected in the career of the fashion designer. In his home, Dior, he discovered that his place was occupied by another young genius – Mark Boan.
The directorate offered Saint-Laurent another, much more modest post. He had to monitor the fulfillment of the terms of the licenses issued by the company in England. This post and the changes behind him offended Yves Saint Laurent. He sued his employer, winning on his suit 24 thousand dollars. This amount has become the basis for the creation, together with a friend of Pierre Berger’s own House of Models. In addition, the pair found a sponsor – American millionaire Mack Robinson.He allocated funds for the promotion of the new brand.
In December 1961, the grand opening of the Fashion House Yves Saint Laurent took place. The couturier himself solemnly declared that he had moved from the world of proportions and fabrics to the world of lines and silhouettes. This was the beginning of the democratic fashion of pret-a-porter. The first collection of the new brand Paris was waiting impatiently. And although many skeptics predicted the failure of Saint-Laurent, he managed to surprise everyone with his show. The audience applauded the collection of the fashion designer. Since then, his career is developing again ascending. Almost every year the fashion designer pleases the audience with new ideas.
As a result, thanks largely to his efforts, modern fashion has acquired its present appearance. Among the most notable innovations are the jacket-raincoat, which appeared in 1962, vinyl raincoats (1965), and in 1966 Yves Saint Laurent introduced women’s trouser suits, striped dresses, T-shirts, jackets and famous tuxedos. The Frenchman revolutionized the women’s wardrobe! And the following year he presented suits in the style of “safari” with patch pockets, as well as overalls. A viable alternative was transparent dresses.
Since 1966, Yves Saint Laurent has become an annual representative of not only a couple of collections of exclusive haute couture clothing, but also two collections of pret-a-porter Rive Gauche. It was the designer who first suggested that soon the ready-to-wear market would lead the fashion industry. Like Christian Dior earlier, Coco Chanel also proclaimed Yves Saint Laurent her heir. The woman couturier explained her choice: “Everyone thinks about the fleetingness of fashion, and Yves Saint Laurent thinks about modern clothes for a woman of the second half of this century.” Such practicality made the fashion designer rich, but the financial success quickly passed.
The financial genius of Pierre Berge in the 1970s made the Yves Saint Laurent fashion house a real empire with millions of dollars in income. The company earned not only on clothes, but also on the accompanying goods – perfume, bags, jewelry. The fragrance of Opium in general became a classic of perfumery, glorifying even more and the brand, and its owner. But in the late 1980s the empire began to slip into a crisis. To amend the cases, Pierre Berger began to actively sell to other producers the right to use the famous brand.
Such illegibility led to a drop in the image of the brand, it milled, blurred in the eyes of buyers. Those stopped seeing in the product with the name YSL something amazing and exceptional. It’s good that Berger and Saint-Laurent were able to take advantage of the support of French President Mitterrand. He insisted that in 1993, the state-owned company Elf-Sanofi acquired a large stake in the distressed House of Fashion. But after the president was replaced, this financial source quickly dried up.
For the next several years, YSL was working at a loss. At the same time, the amount of losses was constantly growing. If in 1999 the losses were 700 thousand dollars, then in two years – already 70 million. The true scope of the company’s problems became apparent only after its sale in 1999. French billionaire Francois Pinault bought a controlling stake for a billion dollars. Another 70 million were personally received by Saint-Laurent and Berger for the right to use their YSL brand in the pret-a-porter line. But the maestro has the right to make haute couture collections twice a year.
To save his dying asset, Pino involved serious forces. Italian businessman Domenico de Sole was called upon to help the glorious brand, as well as American designer Tom Ford. A few years before, the pair had been able to resurrect another famous company, Gucci. From it the worthy competitor in the world of a fashion has revived. New ideologists of the YSL brand are not ordinary people.
Tom Ford is very energetic, his efficiency is bordered by aggressiveness. He is the opposite of the emotional and nervous Yves Saint Laurent, who so often fell into depression. Such dissimilarity has led to the fact that a couple of leaders have become increasingly difficult to get along together.Although Ford and Saint-Laurent both concluded an agreement on non-interference, an equal union between them did not come about in the end.
When in January 2001 the first collection of ready-made clothes for YSL by Tom Ford was shown, Yves Saint-Laurent and Pierre Berger deliberately did not come to this event. And the next day, this couple quietly appeared on the debut of Hedi Sliman, a competitor from House Dior. Such an outing of Saint-Laurent did not go unnoticed, because before that he had ignored other people’s shows for 10 years. At this show, the television crew filmed interesting footage – Yves Saint Laurent complained to the head of the rival LVMH concern Bernard Arnault, stating that he felt cheated. As a result, a year later the maestro declared that he was finally breaking with the fashion world.
This news, although it was quite expected, became a sensation. 65-year-old Yves Saint Laurent made his statement on January 7, 2002: “Today I decided to say goodbye to the world of fashion that I loved so much …”. So one of the cult figures left this profession. And the main reason for the departure was the accumulated differences between the designer and the owner of the brand – Francois Pinault. Before the journalists, Saint-Laurent read the prepared speech and left the hall, and the friend and long-term companion of life Pierre Berge had to explain with the journalists. He, of course, assured the press that the departure from the affairs of the fashion designer is not connected with the pressure from François Pinault.
Although the YSL brand has continued its existence, there will be no more collections of haute couture from it. So Pinot beautifully thanked the master, retired. On June 1, 2008, Yves Saint Laurent died after a long illness, having entered into a same-sex union with his longtime companion and partner Pierre Berger. In 2004, the Italian designer Stefano Pilati became the main designer of YSL.
He returned the audience to the famous brand shows. Pilati began to use original fabrics, elegant silhouettes, his creativity made it possible to turn ordinary things into unusual ones. However, in 2012 the creative director left the company. Now the Fashion House is again waiting for change – re-branding, moving the workshop to Los Angeles.