Yves Saint Laurent is considered one of the greatest designers of the past century. The history of the house of Saint Laurent Paris, as it’s been called since 2012, it’s closely linked to its founder, Yves. A creative genius and tormented soul (if you haven’t yet, you must watch the documentary L’Amour Fou), the legacy of Yves Saint Laurent has lived on, long after his retirement in 2002, and his death in 2008. See a brief history of the house of Yves Saint Laurent, or dig deeper into the story of the legend behind it by reading the timeline below.
Above photo courtesy of Viva Luxury Blog.
1936. Yves Henri Donat Mathieu-Saint-Laurent is born in Algeria, a former French colony.
1953. 17-year-old Yves moves to Paris, France, where he enrolled in the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture (Trade Association of High Fashion). That same year he submits three of his designs to a young fashion designers contest hosted by the International Wool Secretariat, and wins first place, beating another up-and-coming designer at the time, Karl Lagerfeld.
1953. Yves begins work at the House of Dior.
1957. At only 21 years old, Yves becomes the head designer at Dior.
1958. Yves meets Pierre Bergé and the two become romantically involved soon after.
1960. After a bad season at Dior, Yves is conscripted into the French Army during the Algerian War of Independence. At this time he was fired from Dior.
1961. With Pierre’s help, he starts his own fashion house, Yves Saint Laurent YSL.
1965. YSL’s Mondrian collection is launched.
1966. The popular Le Smoking tuxedo suit is introduced.
1967. The Yves Saint Laurent Lulu bag makes its debut.
1976. Yves and Pierre split up romantically, but are to remain business partners.
1978. YSL launches its cosmetics line.
1983. Yves becomes the first living designer to have a Metropolitan Museum of Art solo exhibit.
1997. Yves lets his assistants design the collections under his watch.
1997. Hedi Slimane is appointed collections and art director.
1998. Alber Elbaz designs three ready-to-wear collections for the 1998-1999 seasons.
1999. Hedi Slimane leaves YSL to become head of menswear couture at Dior Homme. That same year, Gucci purchases YSL and Tom Ford is named Creative Director. Yves was not a fan of Tom Ford’s design, and was even quoted as saying: “The poor man does what he can.” Nevertheless, his designs are well received by both the public and the press.
2002. Yves retires and spends his time between his homes in Normandy and Morocco. That same year the YSL Haute Couture house closes.
2004. Stefano Pilati becomes head designer of YSL.
2005. The YSL Muse bag is introduced.
2008. Yves dies of brain cancer in his home in Paris, he was 71 years old.
2011. The Belle de Jour clutch and the Cabas Y (Chyc) tote are introduced.
2012. Hedi Slimane comes back to YSL and is appointed Creative Director. That same year he rebrands Yves Saint Laurent as Saint Laurent Paris.
2013. The Sac de Jour bag is introduced.
2013. The Saint Laurent Cassandre Monogram Tassel bag is introduced.
2015. The Saint Laurent Betty bag makes its debut, named after Yves’ friend Betty Catroux.
2015. Hedi Slimane starts the Haute Couture line once again.
2016. The Blogger Bag is introduced.
2016. Hedi Slimane leaves YSL and is replaced by Anthony Vaccarello.