Saint Laurent is a fashion brand known for its cosmetics and wallets. The brand was founded by Yves Saint Laurent, a designer from France.
The history of the brand and Yves’ life are inseparable.
In this article, I would like to introduce the history of Saint Laurent.
Up to the establishment of the brand
Yves Saint Laurent, the founder of the brand, was born into a wealthy family in France, and moved to Paris at the age of 17.
At the age of 17, he moved to Paris and attended a fashion school, where he showed his talent by entering a cocktail dress in a contest at the end of a three-month course.
The winner of the coat category was Karl Lagerfeld. She developed her skills through friendly competition with the leading designers of the time.
It was at this competition that Yves met Christian Dior. This encounter changed the course of her life.
Dior was quick to recognize and nurture Yves’ talent, and in 1954 he hired her to work for his brand, Christian Dior.
Three years later, however, Dior died. The following year, at the young age of 21, Yves became Dior’s chief designer.
Despite the pressure of carrying a large brand on her shoulders, the collections she presented were well received.
In her first collection, she introduced the “Trapeze” line, which attracted a lot of attention.
The reputation of the collection was such that on the day after the collection launch, a newspaper wrote, “Yves Saint Laurent has saved France. The great Dior tradition continues.
A short time later, Yves left the brand. At the time, France was in the middle of the Algerian War.
As a man, Yves was drafted into the French army.
However, it is said that there was an ulterior motive behind this conscription.
There is a rumor that Marcel Boussac, the owner of Dior at the time, made Yves be drafted!
He didn’t like Yves, and wanted another talented young man, Marc Boan, to be the chief designer.
While Yves is away at war, Marcel hires Boan and fires Yves.
Meanwhile, while serving in the army, Eve suffered from mental illness. It is said that the bullying and harsh conditions in the army were the cause, and he was driven to the point of being admitted to a mental hospital.
In 1961, he founded Yves Saint Laurent with his lover Pierre Bergé. In a way, it was fortunate that he was fired from Dior.
Although he had financial difficulties, he managed to overcome them by receiving assistance from a wealthy American family.
Once mentally ill, Yves went on to become known as the “King of Mode.
In 1966, he opened Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche in Paris. This is when he began to produce ready-to-wear.
His designs, which incorporated new expressions at the time, such as the Mondrian look and see-through, were called “New Mode”.
In 1985, he was awarded the Legion of Honor, France’s highest decoration, and in 1993, the Prix de l’Ordre (Golden Thimble), making him one of the most famous designers of the 20th century in both name and reality.
The acquisition of the brand and Yves’ retirement
In the 1990s, Saint Laurent entered a period of turbulence.
At that time, the battle to acquire brands was heating up, with LVMH, PPR, and others waging a fierce battle. Saint Laurent was no exception to this trend.
In 1993, the company was acquired by Sanofi Beauté, and eventually became part of the PPR organization.
In 2002, Yves announced his retirement, and the haute couture department was closed.
The brand after Yves’ departure
Stefano Pilati, who joined Saint Laurent in 2000, became the general designer after Yves’ departure, and led the brand without Yves until his retirement in 2012.
Stefano’s successor was Hedi Slimane, who had been the designer of the men’s collection for several years since 1997, and came back as the creative director.
He is a genius designer, so much so that the items he designed for Dior Homme in 2000 caused a social phenomenon.
In fact, there was another candidate to replace Stefano.
His name was Raf Simons. He was the designer for Jil Sander at the time.
Then, Hedi Slimane reformed the brand.
He abolished the Cassandra with “YvesSaintLaurent” written diagonally, which had also become synonymous with the brand.
The brand name was changed to “Saint Laurent Paris” and a simple font was adopted for the logo.
The brand name was changed to “Saint-Laurent Paris” and the logo was changed to a simple font, which implied a return to the brand’s roots, and the “YSL” logo was retained.
The next step was to review the advertising. The campaign was shot by Eddie himself, who was a photographer, and most of it was done in a monotone atmosphere.
The models were mainly artists that he was attached to. The campaign, titled “Saint Laurent Music Project,” not only brought excitement to the music world, but also created a buzz as a new experiment.
In addition, Eddie also revamped the store design. He also redesigned the store design, using black and white marble and modern interior design to create a simple yet luxurious atmosphere.
Eddie, who has enlivened the brand with a variety of ideas, will be stepping down after the 2017 collection.
The departure of Eddie, who had been a driving force in the fashion world, shocked the industry.
The impact was so great that people were worried about the future of Saint Laurent.
Anthony Vaccarello was appointed as Eddie’s successor.
Anthony Vaccarello was appointed to replace Eddie, a designer who had trained under Karl Lagerfeld. He has also launched his own brand and has been the creative director of Versace since 2015.
His 2017 collection was a success and made a strong impression on the new Saint Laurent.
The future of Saint Laurent is now in focus.
One of Yves’ greatest achievements was the use of black models on the runway.
Previously, only white people were allowed to walk the runway. Today, there are Japanese and black models, but Saint Laurent was the first to use black models. It is said to be the brand that created the foundation for people of color to shine and revolutionized the runway.
Pierre Bergé, a partner in public and private life
When talking about Yves, Pierre Bergé is an indispensable figure.
He met her by chance at Dior’s funeral.
Perhaps Pierre was the only one who could understand Yves’ feelings.
Yves had shown his talent from a young age, and at the age of 21, he became the designer of the great brand Christian Dior. The pressure must have been very heavy.
She was also drafted into the army by the owner, and was bullied there.
As a result, she became mentally ill, but she was able to get back on her feet thanks to Pierre, who supported her all the way.
He was also a big part of the business side of things. Pierre took care of all the non-creative work such as design. He took care of the details of fundraising, sales, etc., so that Yves could concentrate on designing.
It was his partner who supported him in both his private and public life that made Saint Laurent what it is today.
Saint Laurent was founded in 1966.
His collections were highly popular among Parisian women, and he later became known as the king of mode.
The 1990s marked a major milestone with the acquisition of the brand and the retirement of Yves.
After Yves left, several designers revitalized the brand and it is still very popular today.
All eyes are now on the new Saint Laurent, led by Anthony, to see what it will do in the future.