Yves Saint Laurent, a name that is synonymous with high fashion, the father of French fashion and haute couture.
The designer, born in Algeria in 1936, grew up in a villa on the Mediterranean sea with his parents and two sisters. From his youth he showed a strong creativity and a deep interest in fashion, which led him to move to Paris to join the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, where its magnificent designs had an immediate success.
Yves quickly began working at the fashion house Dior, where his style was able to grow considerably. His first collection, called “Keystone” was an incredible success, but later, in 1960, the fashion designer was forced to enlist in the French army, and after only twenty days he was hospitalized for stress, later getting the news that he was dismissed from Dior. His psychological situation got worse, and he underwent psychiatric treatment and electroshock. Once discharged, Dior sued in court for failing to meet the terms of the contract, Yves won and was able to open Yves Saint Laurent fashion house, with the help of his partner and companion: Pierre Bergé. His lines were characterized by the quality of workmanship of clothes, to the stylized lines and no frills. Yves Saint Laurent dressed woman, giving new dignity and new freedoms, especially with the introduction of pants. Moreover, his great culture greatly influenced his designs, such as the transformation of the vinyl fabric to waterproof Mondrian-inspired trench, or later, with inspiration drawn from the Russian ballet uset to his collection of 1976. The Maison reached the height of prestige between the 60s and 70s with the launch of a pret-a-porter line (1966) and a of cosmetics and perfumes line (1972).
The group entered the stock market in the late ’80s and was later sold to a Pharmaceuticals house, Gucci bought the label in 1999: Tom Ford took care of pret-a-porter and Yves Saint Laurent Haute Couture line. The Maison was officially closed in 2002 and the brand survives under the aegis of Gucci.
Yves was a constant innovator and modernizer of the female image: his insights were legendary as the use of menswear pieces in women’s wardrobe. Collector and lover of art, he gathered a collection with more than 700 works, including paintings by Matisse, Mondrian, Picasso and Goya. After a long period of illness, he died in Paris in 2008; his body, cremated, is preserved in the Majorelle Garden in Marrakesh, Morocco, in a villa bought by Yves and Pierre Bergé belonged to the French artist Louis Majorelle. The collection of works of art was entirely auctioned in 2009 and part of the profits was used for research on AIDS.