Nowadays, Yves Saint Laurent is one of the most powerful fashion brands of the world, yet the man behind the name might also be one of the most interesting personalities to ever exist. Two different biopics about the man will be gracing the big screen this year, but before you see them, we’ve listed 5 facts about Yves Saint Laurent you might not know, but should!
Fact about Yves Saint Laurent #5: He holds many fashion “firsts”
It’s common knowledge that Yves Saint Laurent incorporated a very modern spirit into the fashion he created, but that wasn’t all. Saint Laurent was the first couturier to delve into ready-to-wear fashion, the first designer to use ethnic models at his catwalks, and also the first designer to be honored at the Metropolitan Museum of Art while still alive.
His collections also included many firsts, and it’s not surprising that he’s now considered a visionary amongst the fashion designers of his time.
Fact about Yves Saint Laurent #4: He worked with Christian Dior
Saint Laurent was an exceptional artist from very early on, and with only 18 years he was introduced to renowned designer Christian Dior, who was marveled by the young man’s talent. His sketches were similar to those of Dior himself, and by suggestion of the editor of Vogue magazine, Dior hired Saint Laurent to work at his brand.
Dior even appointed him as his successor, and after passing away due to a heart attack, Yves became the head designer of the Christian Dior brand with only 21 years of age. After being called to war by the French army, he was fired from the brand, but always expressed his admiration for Christian Dior.
Fact about Yves Saint Laurent #3: He was bullied
Saint Lauren’s life wasn’t easy. As a small boy, Yves was constantly teased by other children to his effeminate manners and appearance, an experience which transformed him into a very shy and nervous boy. Later on he was called to war, where he was also submitted to abuse and bullying by fellow soldiers, something that pushed him to be confined in a health institution.
These events would later trigger Saint Laurent’s problems with addiction and depression, which would last for the rest of his life.
Fact about Yves Saint Laurent #2: He took marketing risks
Saint Laurent wasn’t afraid of pushing boundaries, as he often incorporated unexpected elements into his creations. However, he surprised the fashion world when he decided to pose naked on an advertisement for one of his brand’s perfumes. Saint Laurent tried to defeat society’s taboos, yet, since it was 1971, the shot was considered scandalous.
Since then, it’s become a revered photography and a testimony of Saint Laurent’s audacity, and designers such as Tom Ford have paid homage to it.
Fact about Yves Saint Laurent #1: He revolutionized womenswear
Today, the world of fashion recognizes Saint Laurent as a hero, and women, especially, owe a lot to him. The designer incorporated masculine elements into womenswear, popularizing the tuxedo for women, known as “Le Smoking”. But, on the other hand, he also appreciated flowing feminine attires, such as the “trapeze dress”, which he incorporated to the world of fashion during his first collection for Dior.
Saint Laurent perfected the androgynous look, and introduced essential pieces to women’s fashion, such as the sheer blouse, the pea coat, safari prints, and modern-art motifs. He also strongly believed in making fashion accessible, and in giving women freedom with wearable but stylish clothes.
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