Saint Laurent, Yves

(1936- )
   Born Yves Henri Donat Mathieu Saint Laurent, in Oran, Algeria, to a socialite mother and an insurance-company-manager father. He was schooled at the Collège du Sacre-Coeur, graduating in 1954, but moved to Paris to continue his education at the École de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture. His interest in theatrical costume as a young boy prompted him to enter design contests, of which he won several prizes. He eventually made it to Paris. At his mother's insistence, he was introduced to the editor of French Vogue, Michel de Brunhoff, in 1953, who in turn introduced him to Christian Dior, where he landed a job as an intern in 1955. Upon the sudden death of Dior in 1957, Saint Laurent was named successor, the youngest couturier in the world at age twenty-one. His first collection in 1958 was not only a huge success, but reaped him the prestigious Neiman Marcus Award for his creation of the "trapeze silhouette." Before being drafted into the Algerian army in 1960, Saint Laurent met Pierre Bergé, his future companion and business partner. After suffering a nervous breakdown as a result of severe hazing in the military, he was declared unfit for military service.
   During his military absence, the house of Dior replaced Saint Laurent with Marc Bohan, but upon his return and after a few unsuccessful collections, he was unceremoniously fired. He then sued and won for breach of contract and opened his own couture house in 1961 with Bergé, partially financed by American businessman Jesse Mack Robinson. He showed his first collection in 1962, which was met with rave reviews, and created his first signature look, the "peacoat." Thus began Saint Laurent's fascination with gender dressing. Also during this period, the famous YSL logo was created by the graphic designer Cassandre; Saint Laurent also befriended dancer Rudolph Nureyev for whom he would design costumes and with whom he maintained a long-term friendship. In 1965, Richard Salomon of Charles of the Ritz bought all of the stock from Brunhoff and, the same year, Saint Laurent began producing theme-based collections. Some of the most famous are the Mondrian Collection (1965), the Pop Art Collection (1966), the Ballets Russes Collection (1976), the Chinoises Collection (1977), and the African Look Collection (1985). Saint Laurent opened his first ready-to-wear store, Saint Laurent Rive Gauche, with French actress Catherine Deneuve, for whom he had designed costumes for the film, Belle de jour.
   Throughout his forty-four years in business, he is best known for dressing the modern woman with his classic blazer, peacoat, tuxedo suit ("Le Smoking"), pantsuits, raincoats, smock, and dinner and safari jackets; he is also known for pioneering his "nude look," use of cross-cultural references, and his exploration of high fantasy, gender play, and street style. In 1971, he shocked the world by posing nude for an ad for his men's fragrance Pour Homme. In 1972, Bergé bought back all of the stock from Charles of the Ritz (then a subsidiary of the pharmaceutical giant Squibb). Bergé built a licensing empire (200 at its height) while Saint Laurent continued designing for films, theater, the ballet, and a steady stream of ready-to-wear and haute couture collections. In 1982, the Council of Fashion Designers of America presented Saint Laurent with the International Fashion Award, the same year he celebrated the 20th anniversary of the founding of his couture house. His fragrance brands include Y (1964), Rive Gauche and Pour Homme (1971), Opium (1977), Kouros (1981), Paris (1983), Jazz (1988), Cinema (1989), Yvresse (1993), Champagne (1994), In Love Again and Live Jazz (1998), Baby Doll (1999), Nu (2001), and M7 (2002). Museum presentations include Yves Saint Laurent 25 Years of Design at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (the first living designer retrospective), an exhibition of his work at the Fine Art Museum of Beijing (1983), and a retrospective shown at the Musée des Arts de la Mode (1986). He was presented the medal of Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur (1985) and Paris Opera's Best Couturier Award (1985).
   In 1986, Bergé and Saint Laurent, together with Cerus, bought Yves Saint Laurent perfumes from Charles of the Ritz for $630 million and, in 1993, the company merged with the Elf-Sanofi company. In 1998, Saint Laurent announced that he would concentrate on the couture line, while designer Albert Albaz would design the women's ready-to-wear line, and Hedi Slimane would head the men's collection. A year later, François Pinault bought Yves Saint Laurent from Elf-Sanofi and named the Gucci Group as the parent company, with Tom Ford as creative director. Ford's collection for YSL debuted in 2000 but was not well received. In 2002, Saint Laurent announced his retirement from couture and, in 2004, Ford was replaced at YSL by designer Stephano Pilati. Also in 2004, Bergé and Saint Laurent turned their headquarters at 5 Avenue Marceau into the "Foundation Pierre Bergé, Yves Saint Laurent," a museum open to the public, for those interested in fashion and who wish to study the life and work of Yves Saint Laurent.

Historical Dictionary of the Fashion Industry. .

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  • Saint Laurent, Yves — ▪ 2009 Yves Henri Donat Mathieu Saint Laurent         French fashion designer born Aug. 1, 1936, Oran, Alg. died June 1, 2008, Paris, France was regarded as one of the most influential designers in Paris and was especially noted for his… …   Universalium

  • Saint-Laurent,Yves — Saint Lau·rent (săɴ lô ränʹ), Yves. Originally Henri Donat Matthieu. Born 1936. Algerian born French fashion designer who pioneered ready to wear fashions and adapted menswear for women. * * * …   Universalium

  • Saint Laurent, Yves-Henri-Donat-Mathieu — (1936 )    couturier    Born in Oran, Algeria, Yves Saint Laurent, as he is known, the successor to christian dior, was immediately recognized for his talent in 1958 at the showing of his first collection. The founder of his own fashion house… …   France. A reference guide from Renaissance to the Present

  • Saint Laurent, Yves (-Henri-Donat-Mathieu) — born Aug. 1, 1936, Oran, Alg. Algerian born French fashion designer. He left for Paris after secondary school to pursue a fashion career and at 17 was hired as Christian Dior s assistant. When Dior died four years later, he was named head of the… …   Universalium

  • Saint Laurent, Yves (-Henri-Donat-Mathieu) — (n. 1 ago. 1936, Orán, Argelia). Diseñador de modas francés de origen argelino. Después de su educación secundaria, se trasladó a París en pos de una carrera en la moda, y a los 17 años fue contratado como asistente de Christian Dior. Cuando este …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Yves Saint-Laurent — Yves Henri Donat Mathieu Saint Laurent (* 1. August 1936 in Oran, Algerien; † 1. Juni 2008 in Paris) war ein französischer Modeschöpfer von Haute Couture und Prêt à porter, der bis 2002 in Paris tätig war. Saint Laurent wirkte vielfach… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Yves Saint Laurent — Yves Henri Donat Mathieu Saint Laurent (* 1. August 1936 in Oran, Algerien; † 1. Juni 2008 in Paris) war ein französischer Modeschöpfer, der von 1953 bis 2002 in Paris tätig war. Saint Laurent wirkte vielfach stilbildend in der Mode, die Fachwelt …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Yves-Saint-Laurent — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Saint Laurent. Yves Saint Laurent Naissance 1 août 1936 Oran en Algérie Décès 1 juin 2008 (à 71 ans) Paris Nationalité …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Yves Saint-Laurent — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Saint Laurent. Yves Saint Laurent Naissance 1 août 1936 Oran en Algérie Décès 1 juin 2008 (à 71 ans) Paris Nationalité …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Yves Saint Laurent (casa de moda) — Yves Saint Laurent Fundada en 1962 Sede París Propietario Guc …   Wikipedia Español

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