Prince of fashion
“Fashions fade, style is eternal,” Said Yves Saint Laurent; the man who epitomised style in its truest form.
The YSL brand is synonymous with fashion. It is also the name of the legendary designer who spearheaded a phenomenal fashion power house for a large part of the twentieth century.
For three years,
Though thrust in the middle of the spotlight,
Just as his career began to take off,
The designer is perhaps most famous for "Le Smoking" tuxedo jacket, see-through blouses, peasant blouses, bolero jackets, pantsuits and smocks.
As his popularity soared,
The designer’s life was marked by a fair share of controversy. Describing his life, the New York Times states, “In 1971, he appeared nude in an advertisement for his men’s cologne, ‘YSL.’ Then, in 1977, he named one of his women’s perfumes ‘Opium,’ which led to charges that he was glamorising drug use and trivialising the 19th-century Opium Wars in
In December 1983, a few months after the launch of ‘
In 1993, the
The Ballets Russes collection, his unparalleled sense of colour combinations, the artistry of his cut, designer denim and the launch of a significant fragrance and beauty business with a designer name can all be attributed to YSL. He was also the first to use models of colour on the runway.
He left an indelible mark on other designers as well. Jean Paul Gaultier states, "For me,
Throughout his life,
In 2001, he was awarded with the rank of Commander of the Legion of Honour by the then French president, Jacques Chirac.
David Teboul created a documentary in 2002 which captured the essence of this designer who himself explained how hard it was to come to terms with his homosexuality during his formative years.
His mother was considered one of his biggest fans always seen in the front row of his shows wearing her son’s designs.
In January 2002,
The fashion industry wore a look of sadness on June 1, 2008 as Yves Saint Laurent died at the age of 71. Noted designer Vera Wang said, "I think I'm in shock. I'm in fashion today because of him. I lived in
At his funeral he was honoured with a military salute. Only fitting for the man that many regarded as
Published in Signature Magazine, August 2008