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Yves Saint Laurent - A Fashion Legend

YSL has become a brand, a logo, and a legend. The unmistakable sound of these three words mean one thing only: high fashion. Not only is Yves Saint Laurent one of the founders of French fashion industry, but he is also the man who made high fashion (or Haute Couture - literally "high dressmaking" in French) popular.
Yves Saint-Laurent was born in Algeria in 1936. His passion for art, fabrics and catwalks starts very early in his life. Instead of playing football or doing the usual things kids of his age did, he started practicing with fabrics and materials and needles.
Yves Saint Laurent - A Fashion Legend
In 1953, after taking part as a contest for young designers, he met Michel de Brunhoff, the editor-in-chief of Vogue magazine (Paris edition). For his first great breakthrough Yves had to wait until later that year at another fashion contest (that Yves won) where he met again de Brunhoff.
Yves showed some him some of his sketches, very similar other that de Brunhoff had seen a the same day in Christian Dior's office. Had the young promising designer found the way to steal other Christian Dior's work and put his name under it? That was not possible, as de Brunhoff knew for a fact that Dior has created those sketches the very same morning. It was just a fortunate coincidence that simply meant that the two, Yves Saint Laurent and Christian Dior had to meet. Needless to say that Yves started to work in Dior's maison immediately.
That was year 1953, five years later, when Dior died suddenly of heart attack, he had already chosen Yves as his successor.
His first collection in 1958 was an international success, but the dream was interrupted when he was called to serve in the Army during the Algerian War of Independence. Dior's maison fired him almost immediately. The experience in the army didn't last long, but started the most difficult period in Yves Saint Laurent's life that brought him in a mental institution and a drug addiction. He got out of the hospital in 1960 (but the drug addiction will stay with him for the rest of his life) and started his own fashion company,
The rest, as they say is history. YSL's collections gained a growing popularity, also for the controversy they often raised and became a living legend in the world of fashion and design. He was the first in fashion in many things, but perhaps the he is most remembered for having launched the first ready-to-wear collection in 1966.
In 1989 the YLS group was listed in the stock market, and was sold in 1994 to pharmaceuticals company Sanofi, and then to the Italian fashion company Gucci in 1999. Yves Saint Laurent remained as high fashion designer, but he soon realized that it was time to leave the world of fashion, which he did in 2002.
He died of a brain tumor in his house in Paris on 1 June 2008.
The original fashion house no longer exists, but the brand, owned by Gucci, and all its products are still alive.


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