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Yves Saint Laurent

French, 1936-2008

French fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent pioneered “cross-design” in fashion, taking inspiration from street trends to modernize haute couture.

Saint Laurent was the first to launch a ready-to-wear label, YSL Rive Gauche Prêt-à-Porter. He was the first couturier to open boutiques for both men and women. Using traditional menswear fabrics and designs for women, Saint Laurent also literally cross-dressed, giving men and women alike chic pant suits, elegant tuxedo jackets and urban safari gear. By blurring gender-specific design, he empowered individual style while creating a scissor-sharp fashion aesthetic of sensual ease and beauty. Many of his designs are today considered timeless classics. Saint Laurent also consistently used Black models, like Mounia, Iman and Naomi Campbell, and he drew endless inspiration from different ethnicities and cultures, in no small part because of his Algerian roots.

Born to French parents in Oran, Algeria, in 1936, Saint Laurent went to Paris at age 17 to study fashion at the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture. Just two years later, in 1955, his remarkable sketches were shown to Christian Dior, then the world’s reigning couturier, who hired him immediately.

Surprisingly soon thereafter, Dior publicly chose Saint Laurent as his successor, which sadly proved prescient when the fashion legend died unexpectedly, in 1957. A mere slip of a youth, the 21-year-old Saint Laurent was nevertheless up to the challenge. He shook the traditional couture clientele to its core with youthful silhouettes and styles like the A-line trapeze dress that hung with seeming effortlessness from the shoulders, the antithesis of the pinched waists and molded skirts that had been all the rage after the deprivations of World War II.

After a mandated spell in the torturous French military, Saint Laurent suffered a nervous breakdown and was dismissed by Dior in 1962. Out of the ashes rose the Age of Yves. With Pierre Bergé, his then-lover who became his lifelong business partner and friend, the designer founded Yves Saint Laurent YSL to encompass prêt-à-porter, or ready-to-wear. In 1966, they opened the first YSL Rive Gauche women’s boutique in Paris, followed soon thereafter by YSL Rive Gauche for men. Saint Laurent had given birth to a global brand.

His revolutionary Mondrian mini dress from 1965 is a core element of his fashion biography. It is a prime example of how Saint Laurent, an avid art lover and collector, looked to painters, from Goya to Picasso, Ingres to Matisse, for inspiration.

With its pure lines and hues, Mondrian’s ground-breaking 1935 color-block painting Composition C transmutes beautifully into a dress that is highly valued by collectors of contemporary fashion and widely copied commercially to this day. The design is the epitome of Saint Laurent’s aesthetic, requiring a meticulous hand piecing of each color block so that, despite the body’s curves, the visual plane is as flat as a canvas when the garment is worn. Mondrian’s purity met its match in Saint Laurent.

“I am no longer concerned with sensation and innovation, but with the perfection of my style,” Saint Laurent said four years before retiring, in 2002. After a long period of ill health, he died at his home in Paris on June 1, 2008.

Browse an extraordinary collection of vintage Yves Saint Laurent evening dresses, shirts, handbags and other clothing and accessories today on 1stDibs.

Average Sold Price
Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche Petit Prince Velvet set - Fall-Winter 1982
By Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche, Yves Saint Laurent
Located in Toulon, FR
Fall-Winter 1982 collection France Elegant cocktail set, jacket and knickers in midnight blue velvet by Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche from the 1982 ready-to-wear collection. Influ...

1980s Yves Saint Laurent

Yves Saint Laurent Chic Embossed Cream Leather Clutch c 1980s
By Yves Saint Laurent
Located in University City, MO
Yves Saint Laurent Chic embossed cream leather clutch c 1980s The stylish embossed leather clutch is adorned with Saint Laurent's iconic gilt metal Y.S.L. initials The exterior le...

Late 20th Century Yves Saint Laurent

Yves Saint Laurent "Le Smoking Jacket Wool with Satin Lapels
By Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche, Yves Saint Laurent
Located in New Hope, PA
The YSL "le Smoking" tuxedo jacket is one of his best known designs. It is a timeless classic, an elegant garment that can be worn year after year and it will always be stylish. The...

Late 20th Century Yves Saint Laurent

Yves Saint Laurent Black Leather Mini Mombasa Hobo
By Yves Saint Laurent
Located in Dubai, Al Qouz 2
Accessorize your outfit with a Saint Laurent Paris bag like this and make a style statement. It has been crafted from black leather and designed with a spacious suede interior and a ...

2010s Yves Saint Laurent

Vintage YVES SAINT LAURENT Rive Gauche Size 8 Black Viscose Long Skirt
By Yves Saint Laurent
Located in San Francisco, CA
Vintage YVES SAINT LAURENT long skirt comes in a black viscose featuring a high waist and a side zipper closure. Made in France. Very Good Pre-Owned Condition. Marked: 40 Measurem...

19th Century Yves Saint Laurent

Yves Saint Laurent Vintage Glasses (galatee 444v)
By Yves Saint Laurent
Located in Montreal, Quebec
COLOR: Gold/white/transparent CODE STAMPS: GALATEE 444V SIZE STAMP: 55☐14 FRAME MATERIAL: Acetate MEASURES~ Arms: 110 mm Lens width: 55 mm Lens height: 45 mm Bridge: 14 mm COMES WI...

21st Century and Contemporary Yves Saint Laurent

Yves Saint Laurent Jacket + Skirt Suit 2pc Set Lime Green Satin Sz 8 Vintage 90s
By Yves Saint Laurent
Located in Port Saint Lucie, FL
Preowned vintage Yves Saint Laurent checked satin jacket and skirt 2pc set, made for their Encore line, most likely in the 90s. The high collar jacket is made from a checked satin f...

1990s Yves Saint Laurent

Black Saint Laurent Roses and Lurex Silk Shawl
By Yves Saint Laurent
Located in Paris, FR
Gorgeous Saint Laurent YSL multico silk georgette shawl featuring a floral motive, a lurex check pattern, a top logo YSL signature. Marked YSL 49.6 in. (126cm) X 51.3in. (130cm) In ...

Late 20th Century Yves Saint Laurent

Browse all Fashion from Yves Saint Laurent
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Yves Saint Laurent Sellers

Yves Saint Laurent fashion for sale on 1stDibs

1stDibs offers an extraordinary range of authentic Yves Saint Laurent fashion. If you’re browsing our collection of unique vintage and designer fashion to elevate your daily look or to introduce new colors to the dazzling formal wear in your wardrobe, this designer’s body of work includes elements of red, purple, blue and other tones. Most of the items here were designed during the 20th Century, but you can find examples that were created as recently as the 21st Century and Contemporary. Customers who are interested in this designer might also find the work of Dolce & Gabbana, Christian Dior and Jean Paul Gaultier appealing. 1stDibs offers haute couture, vintage and designer Yves Saint Laurent fashion from top boutiques around the world. On 1stDibs, the price for these items starts at $35 and tops out at $50,000, while the average work can sell for $786.

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