Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Yves Saint Laurent - King Of French Fashion

Thanks, Wikipedia.

Yves Henri Donat Mathieu Saint Laurent (August 1, 1936 – June 1, 2008) was a French fashion designer who is considered one of the greatest figures in French fashion in the 20th Century.

Better known as YSL, the designer who died after a long battle with cancer on June 1, 2008, has also been hailed as the most consistently celebrated and influential designer of the past 50 years.

The son of an insurance company president, Yves Saint Laurent was born in Oran, Algeria.

He inherited his fashion sense from his mother.

Mentored at the age of 17 by French designer Christian Dior, he eventually became Dior’s company’s manager after his mentor’s death in 1957.

YSL was conscripted to serve in the French Army during the Algerian War of Independence in the early 1960s. After 20 days, the stress of being hazed by fellow soldiers resulted in his suffering mental problems and being hospitalised.

In 1962, he started his own label YSL, financed by his companion Pierre Berge.

During the 1960s and 1970s, the firm popularised fashion trends such as the beatnik look, safari jackets for men and women, tight pants and tall, thigh-high boots, including the creation of arguably the most famous classic tuxedo suit for women in 1966.

He also started mainstreaming the idea of wearing silhouettes from the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s.

He was the first, in 1966, to popularise ready-to-wear in an attempt to democratise fashion.

He was also the first designer to use African models in his runway shows.

In 2001, he was awarded the rank of Commander Of The Legion Of Honour by the then French President Jacques Chirac.