Biography of Yves Saint-Laurent (1936-2008)

Ives Saint-Laurent

French Couturier of Algerian origin born on August 1, 1936, in Oran, in the bosom of a family accommodated, and died on 1 June 2008. He/She began drawing from a child, drawing dresses for his sisters dolls. He/She was educated at the Lycée de Oran and at age 17, won first prize in a design competition with the drawing of a black cocktail dress. In 1954, back in Paris, he/she began working at the firm Christian Dior, became the principal collaborator of the master and, at his death (1957), in his natural successor. Become the designer youngest of Haute Couture, the following year he/she presented his first collection in solitary and success was total. Hailed as the authentic renewal of the fashion world, his promising career suffered a forced halt to fulfill military service. He/She then suffered a nervous depression, had to be admitted to a hospital and he/she was fired from the House of Dior.

In 1961 created, with the support of Pierre Bergé, his own company and in 1962 launched the first collection under the brand Yves Saint-Laurent. That same year took off one of its best-known products, the sailor jacket. Abstract art incorporated into the feminine silhouette in 1963 and in 1966 pop art. That year he/she discovered tuxedo for Couture, making the pants party female garment. With transparent tulle blouse made his contribution to the sexual revolution. In 1967 he/she released the Buccaneers and shortly after Bermuda. 1970 are the blazer and back on the air. Seven years later he/she opened the era of the Oriental and folkloric tendencies. He/She was also a pioneer in the use of transparencies and the introduction of the woven jeans in Haute Couture.

Installed on top of the world of the catwalk, remained for years a frenetic nightlife, associated with flirting with sex and drugs, and an unhealthy dedication to work, while women most glamorous of the planet paid amounts exorbitant for a tailored YSL suit. His fashion house branched into four areas. In addition to Haute Couture, launched in 1966 the prêt à porter, a more affordable fashion to a wider clientele. The third aspect was the manufacture of supplements under license. Manufacturers scarves, jewellery, leather, etc, were fighting for the YSL symbol on the label of their products. In addition, Saint-Laurent entered the market of cosmetics with various perfumes as "And", "Rive Gauche" and "Opium".

In 1970 he/she also launched menswear. Already in those years it was said that it entered more currency in France that the House Renault. However, in 1971 his collection '40 style' won dream disapproval and the designer closed the doors of its signature for two years. He/She reappeared on the catwalks of Haute Couture in 1974, Second Empire-style costumes which were highly successful. The same year, Time magazine named him "King of fashion". In 1985 he/she was awarded the Legion of Honor by President Mitterrand, and received the Oscar to the more Couturier for the whole of his work. Previously had obtained other two distinctions: the Oscar Neiman Marcus of seam (Dallas, 1958), and the Oscar Harper's Bazaar (United States, 1966). Fond of the theatre and the opera, Saint-Laurent made decorations and costumes for shows, and movies, as well as illustrating a book, the vilaine Lulu (1967). On the other hand, his house became the only French fashion company listed.

Despite the success, the firm did not escape the financial problems and the petrochemical Sanofi acquired the company. In 1999, Sanofi sold YSL to the financial François Pinault, owner of the Artemis holding company and renowned investor, which put the division of prêt-à-porter under the control of the Gucci firm. Artistic fashion, intrinsic conception in Saint-Laurent, often held in his palace in Marrakech where designing their collections inspired by the colors of the Moroccan city, and profitability as a business base, defended by Pinault were soon translated into irreconcilable positions. Broke out a battle that, two years later, as the name of the loser was known. On 7 January 2002, Saint-Laurent offered the first and last of his life press conference to announce his retirement and the closure of the firm's Haute Couture founded forty years ago. His delicate state of health and, above all, the difficult relations with the Empire Pinault determined the abandonment of one of contemporary fashion gurus.