How Yves Saint Laurent suits changed women's fashion, the history of his fashion brand and how he helped the industry evolve.
Yves Saint Laurent Suits Alterations
Yves Saint Laurent was a French fashion designer who is known as one of the most influential in the industry in recent memory. A prodigy since the outset, his career certainly took some twists and turns.
In 1953 he entered a young fashion designers' contest and came first place. During his time in Paris he was then recommended to study at the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture. They are the council that regulate the haute couture industry.
Following his successful time under their tutelage he again entered and won the International Wool Secretariat competition. He beat contestants such as the young Karl Lagerfeld.
A short time later he created new sketches which insiders likened to recent little-seen Dior designs. He soon joined the fashion house and worked his way up.
Christian Dior himself eventually named Yves Saint Laurent as his successor before passing away later that year. At 21 he was the head of House of Dior and shortened his name to Saint Laurent.
His first collection in 1958 was an immediate triumph but future lines were not so well received. In 1960 he was conscripted by the French army for the Algerian War of Independence.
He had a short lived and painful time in the army where he was notified of his termination from Dior. After returning, suing Dior and winning, he began Yves Saint Laurent YSL.
Saint Laurent was the first French couturier to release a full prêt-à-porter (ready-to-wear) collection. Its introduction challenged the status quo of the fashion industry by making much more revenue than haute couture. Now it's a staple of the industry and the backbone of the fashion season.
The year 1966 also unveiled Le Smoking, the first woman's tuxedo. At the time, it remained rare to see women in trousers in public. Again, the industry changed with Saint Laurent taking the lead.
Le Smoking became a modern classic with the likes of Bianca Jagger marrying in one such jacket. Yet, its androgyny was scandalous and "respectable" restaurants banned it. This only added to its infamy.
The mixture of wool and satin were feminine and fresh along with the cut. Its iconic status means that 30 years later, the same materials are used.
It's a timeless classic from a precocious mind that pushed boundaries and urged the industry forward.
(Main image Designer Vintage)