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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
$869
Styles
Vintage Yves Saint Laurent YSL 3 Strand Pearl and Blue Bead Necklace
By Yves Saint Laurent
Located in New York, NY
Vintage Yves Saint Laurent YSL 3 Strand Pearl and Blue Bead Necklace. Quite Different. The Three Strands have 3 beads mixed in with the Pearls to Offset the Color. They are Held to...
Category

1990s Artist Yves Saint Laurent

Yves Saint Laurent YSL Vintage Gold Toned Woven Clip-On Earrings
By Yves Saint Laurent
Located in Nice, FR
YVES SAINT LAURENT vintage gold toned openwork woven clip-on earrings featuring a YSL monogram. Embossed YSL Made in France. Indicative measurements : approx. 2.5 cm x 2.5 cm (0.98...
Category

20th Century Yves Saint Laurent

Heart brooch YVES ST. LAURENT by R. GOOSSENS PARIS 1970s, gold plated
By Yves Saint Laurent
Located in Stuttgart, DE
Beautiful and rare heart brooch from YSL Paris from the 1970s made by Robert Goossens . The heart is filled with different shapes, each with a cut rhinestone. On the underside of th...
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1980s Artisan Vintage Yves Saint Laurent

Materials

Crystal, 24k Gold

Vintage YVES SAINT LAURENT Ysl Sunburst Square Milk Glass Cabochon Earrings
By Yves Saint Laurent
Located in Kingersheim, Alsace
Vintage YVES SAINT LAURENT Ysl Sunburst Square Milk Glass Cabochon Earrings Measurements: Height: 1.38 inches (3.5 cm) Width: 1.38 inches (3.5 cm) Weight per Earring: 26 grams Feat...
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1980s Vintage Yves Saint Laurent

Vintage Yves Saint Laurent YSL Heavy Gold Quilted Choker Necklace
By Yves Saint Laurent
Located in New York, NY
Vintage Yves Saint Laurent YSL Heavy Gold Quilted Choker Necklace. Quilted Pieces make up this Rounded Choker Necklace. It is 1.5" w and is quite Rounded. Is 15" measured inside the ...
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1980s Artist Vintage Yves Saint Laurent

Vintage Yves Saint Laurent YSL ETE MER Letter Bracelet
By Yves Saint Laurent
Located in Kingersheim, Alsace
Vintage Yves Saint Laurent YSL ETE MER Letter Bracelet Measurements: Height: 5/8 inch Overall Length: 7 4/8 inches Features: - 100% Authentic YVES SAINT LAURENT. - ETE MER (Summer ...
Category

20th Century Yves Saint Laurent

Yves Saint Laurent YSL Jewelled Gold Toned Nest Desgin Clip-On Earrings
By Yves Saint Laurent
Located in Nice, FR
YVES SAINT LAURENT vintage gold toned nest design clip-on earrings embellished with a large red resin cabochon at center surrounded by multicolored crystals. Embossed YSL Made in Fr...
Category

20th Century Yves Saint Laurent

Vintage YVES SAINT LAURENT Ysl by Robert Goossens Chunky Chain Earrings
By Yves Saint Laurent
Located in Kingersheim, Alsace
Vintage YVES SAINT LAURENT Ysl by Robert Goossens Chunky Chain Earrings Measurements: Height: 2.67 inches (6.8 cm) Width: 1.10 inches (2.8 cm) Weight per Earring: 24 grams Features...
Category

20th Century Yves Saint Laurent

Browse all Jewelry from Yves Saint Laurent
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Yves Saint Laurent Sellers

Yves Saint Laurent jewelry & watches for sale on 1stDibs

Yves Saint Laurent Jewelry & Watches available on 1stDibs. These unique items were designed with extraordinary care, often using gilt metal. While looking for the most stylish antique or vintage Yves Saint Laurent jewelry to pair with your ensemble, you’ll find that Yves Saint Laurent crystal jewelry & watches can add a particularly distinctive touch to your look, from our inventory of 14. This collection contains 766 pieces as well as a number of other designs by this jeweler. modern and artisan are among the most popular styles of Yves Saint Laurent jewelry & watches available on 1stDibs. While this collection reflects work that originated over various time periods, most of these items were designed during the 20th Century. If you are looking for additional options, many customers also consider jewelry & watches by Christian Dior, Aria Jewelry Design and Christian Lacroix. Prices for Yves Saint Laurent watches and jewelry can vary depending upon gemstone, time period and other attributes. The price for these items starts at $150 and tops out at $16,500, while pieces like these can sell for $634 on average.

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