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Yves Saint Laurent

Yves Saint Laurent (FRENCH ALGERIA, 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.

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 plain is as flat as a canvas when the garment is worn. Mondrian’s purity met its match in Saint Laurent.

In Yves Saint Laurent: The Impossible Collection (Assouline, 2020), the Mondrian dress is shown worn on the cover of Paris Vogue, as well as on British Sudanese model Alek Wek in a photographic trifold by Christoph Sillem from 1998. Saint Laurent 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.

Browse an extraordinary collection of Yves Saint Laurent evening dresses, shirts and more today on 1stDibs.

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Designer:Yves Saint Laurent
Dealer:Torso Vintages
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1980s Yves Saint Laurent Silver Satin Ankle-Cross Stillettos W/ Pointed Toe
By Yves Saint Laurent
Located in San Francisco, CA
1980s Yves Saint Laurent Silver Satin Ankle-Cross Stillettos W/ Pointed Toe. Size 10.
Category

1980s Yves Saint Laurent

1980s Yves Saint Laurent Silver Quilted Nylon Cropped Jacket W/ Black Fox Fur
By Yves Saint Laurent
Located in San Francisco, CA
A wonderful 1980s Yves Saint Laurent quilted silver nylon cropped coat with black fox fur trim everywhere! This piece follows his Russian themed collections and is quilted in a passi...
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1980s Yves Saint Laurent

1960s Yves Saint Laurent Eggshell Felt Bucket Hat W/ Pierced Embellishment
By Yves Saint Laurent
Located in San Francisco, CA
A smart 1960s Yves Saint Laurent eggshell wool felt bucket hat with graphic black and white abstract vented surface cuts throughout that resemble ermine tails. A narrow black hatban...
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1960s Yves Saint Laurent

1970s Yves Saint Laurent Gold & Red Leather High Heel Sling-Back Sandals
By Yves Saint Laurent, Yves Saint Laurent
Located in San Francisco, CA
Category

1970s Yves Saint Laurent

1980s Saint Laurent Hot Pink Silk Ruffled and Ribbon Tie Camisole
By Yves Saint Laurent
Located in San Francisco, CA
1980s Yves Saint Laurent for ruffled and ribbon tie front camisole in hot pink silk with black pin dots. Bias ruffles at neck and shoulders. French size 38.
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1980s Yves Saint Laurent

1980s Saint Laurent Hot Pink Spring Gabardine Pleated Pant & Sailor Top
By Yves Saint Laurent
Located in San Francisco, CA
1980s Yves Saint Laurent hot pink spring 2-piece pant ensemble: Wool gabardine pant and sailor-style top. Pants are pleated at hip with full straight leg and side slit pockets. Sail...
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1980s Yves Saint Laurent

1970s Yves Saint Laurent Black Rayon Jersey Dress Square Moroccan Braid Trim
By Yves Saint Laurent
Located in San Francisco, CA
A beautiful 1970s Yves Saint Laurent black matte rayon jersey maxi dress with Moroccan-inspired style and braid trim at neckline. Draw string cord empire waist. Wide button and loop ...
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1970s Yves Saint Laurent

Early 1980s Yves Saint Laurent Black Silk Taffeta Strapless Bubble Mini Dress
By Yves Saint Laurent
Located in San Francisco, CA
An early runway 1980s Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche little black dress: black washed silk taffeta strapless mini bubble dress with center-front gather and cinched hemline. Large fa...
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1980s Yves Saint Laurent

1980s Yves Saint Laurent Hammered Bronze Bolo Tie w Matching Disk Earrings
By Yves Saint Laurent
Located in San Francisco, CA
A great casual jewelry set of earrings and a bolo tie: 1980s Yves Saint Laurent. Hammered bronze disc bolo tie with black cord and end caps. Matching hammered disc and leather dangle...
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1980s Modern Vintage Yves Saint Laurent

1980s Yves Saint Laurent Faceted Amethyst and Aquamarine Glass Stick Pin
By Yves Saint Laurent
Located in San Francisco, CA
A beautiful and bold 1980s Yves Saint Laurent stick pin with two amethyst faceted glass pieces and one aquamarine glass piece, all surrounded by small rhinestones in a japanned setti...
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1980s Baroque Revival Vintage Yves Saint Laurent

1990s Saint Laurent Black Rayon Crepe Pleated Knee-Length Skirt
By Yves Saint Laurent
Located in San Francisco, CA
A Saint Laurent black rayon crepe pleated knee-length unlined skirt. Side Zipper closure.
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1990s Yves Saint Laurent

1980s Yves Saint Laurent Fitted Black Lambskin Tuxedo w Velvet Lapels
By Yves Saint Laurent
Located in San Francisco, CA
A sexy 1980s Yves Saint Laurent fitted black lambskin tuxedo dress w sculpted waist and hip. Fully lined with shoulder padding. Fits a modern US size 2-4. See measurement card for ex...
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1980s Yves Saint Laurent

1970s Saint Laurent Box Pleated Orange and White Polka Dot Crepe Skirt
By Yves Saint Laurent
Located in San Francisco, CA
A flirty 1970s Saint Laurent box pleated orange and white polka dot crepe skirt with waistband and zipper. Just below knee length.
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1970s Yves Saint Laurent

1980s Yves Saint Laurent Purple, Red and Gold Floral Brocade Gown
By Yves Saint Laurent
Located in San Francisco, CA
1980s Yves Saint Laurent purple, red and gold floral brocade gown with belt. Low cut back, side slit. Fully lined.
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1980s Yves Saint Laurent

1970s Saint Laurent - Rive Gauche Orange Matelassé Jacquard Dinner Jacket
By Yves Saint Laurent, Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche
Located in San Francisco, CA
1970s Yves Saint Laurent for Saint Laurent Rive Gauche Vivid orange matelassé jacquard dinner jacket with flap pockets, notched lapel and single button front closure.
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1970s Yves Saint Laurent

Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche Leopard Mollusk Shell Necklace and Earring Set
By Yves Saint Laurent
Located in San Francisco, CA
1980s Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche leopard mollusk shell graduated necklace and earring set: Both are set in gold-tone metal with gold-tone chain link on necklace. Open-work gold...
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1980s Artisan Vintage Yves Saint Laurent

1980s Yves Saint Laurent - Rive Gauche Red Iridescent Pouf Dress
By Yves Saint Laurent, Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche
Located in San Francisco, CA
1980s Yves Saint Laurent - Rive Gauche red iridescent sharkskin silk and acetate bubble dress with voluminous skirt and large bow at front. Scoop Ballet-style neckline and fitted lo...
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1980s Yves Saint Laurent

1991 Iconic Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche Gold Lamé Hooded Evening Dress
By Yves Saint Laurent, Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche
Located in San Francisco, CA
Iconic Yves Saint Laurent, Long evening dress, with 90's waist cut-out and draping. Rive Gauche collection, Fall-Winter 1991. Draped gold lamé with hood and daring cut-out midriff. ...
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1990s Yves Saint Laurent

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1970s Yves Saint Laurent Gold & Red Leather High Heel Sling-Back Sandals
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1980s Beverly Feldman Metallic Leather Rainbow Slingbacks w Leather Spirals
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1950s Henry Waters - Black Suede and Velvet Spring-O-Lators w Rhinestone Buckle
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Prada Pink and Black Studded Platform Sandals w Leather Fringe at Vamp
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21st Century and Contemporary Yves Saint Laurent

1980s Maud Frizon 22" High Black Lace Over Pink Leather Kitten Heel Boot
By Maud Frizon, Maud Frizon
Located in San Francisco, CA
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1980s Yves Saint Laurent

1920s Art Deco Black Silk Evening Pumps w Beautiful Marcasite Beading at Throat
Located in San Francisco, CA
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1960's Quality Craft Burlap Plaid Wedge Platforms
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1960s Yves Saint Laurent

1940s Fiesta Color Ankle-Strap Shoe and Matching Handbag Set
Located in San Francisco, CA
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1940s Yves Saint Laurent

1950s Herbert Levine Burgundy Spotted Silk D'Orsay Pump w Bow at Toe
By Herbert Levine, Herbert Levine
Located in San Francisco, CA
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1950s Yves Saint Laurent

1990s Giancarlo Paoli Magenta & Periwinkle Leather Stiletto Mules
By Giancarlo Paoli, Giancarlo Paoli
Located in San Francisco, CA
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1990s Yves Saint Laurent

1950s Herbert Levine Orange Crepe Stiletto with Beaded Daisy
Located in San Francisco, CA
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1950s Yves Saint Laurent

Prada Canary Yellow Purple & Black Fetish-Style Platform Mary Jane Heels
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21st Century and Contemporary Yves Saint Laurent

Previously Available Items
Yves Saint Laurent Silk "Star" Blouse w/ Necktie
By Yves Saint Laurent
Located in San Francisco, CA
A great 1970's Yves Saint Laurent silk blouse with slightly fuller sleeves: buttons up the front with an attached necktie/scarf. Black/white star print.
Category

1970s Yves Saint Laurent

Yves Saint Laurent 2 Piece Silk Chiffon Peasant Ensemble
By Yves Saint Laurent, Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche
Located in San Francisco, CA
A signature black silk chiffon peasant blouse and skirt from Saint Laurent Rive Gauche. Blouse features a tasseled drawstring neckline and cotton rickrack trim. Tres chic!
Category

1970s Yves Saint Laurent

1970s Saint Laurent Silk Striped Day Dress w/ Foulard
By Yves Saint Laurent
Located in San Francisco, CA
A 1970s Saint Laurent silk striped shirt waist day dress with pleated skirt, button sleeves and attached foulard collar. Red, cobalt, rust and white. Side zip and small shoulder pads.
Category

1970s Yves Saint Laurent

1970s Saint Laurent Peasant-Style Black Crepe and Sequin Dress
By Yves Saint Laurent
Located in San Francisco, CA
A bod-hugging 1970s Saint Laurent peasant-style dress: Shirred elasticized body and cuffs, embellished with black iridescent sequins. Balloon sleeves and full skirt in rayon satin-...
Category

1970s Yves Saint Laurent

1970s Saint Laurent - Rive Gauche Black Matelassé Smoking Jacket w Velvet
By Yves Saint Laurent, Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche
Located in San Francisco, CA
1970s Yves Saint Laurent for Saint Laurent Rive Gauche: Black matelassé smoking jacket with velvet shawl collar and cuffs. Single-button front closure. Flap pockets. So Chic.
Category

1970s Yves Saint Laurent

1980s YSL Egyptian-Inspired Brushed Gold-Tone Pendant w Hematite and Chain
By Yves Saint Laurent
Located in San Francisco, CA
A bold 1980s YSL Egyptian-inspired brushed gold-tone trapezoid pendant with a central faceted hematite. Pendant is on the original serpentine chain. Chain measures 18" loing and pe...
Category

1980s Egyptian Revival Vintage Yves Saint Laurent

Materials

Hematite

1970s Deconstructed YSL Woven Wool & Gold Metallic Kimono Duster W/ Wool Fringe
By Yves Saint Laurent
Located in San Francisco, CA
Featured here is a custom-made striking robe consisting of two large YSL woven wraps joined together to create a deco-inspired Erte-style duster. Can be worn with or without unmarked...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary Yves Saint Laurent

Yves Saint Laurent Gray Denim Pink Linen Trim Skirt and Jacket Ensemble, 1980
By Yves Saint Laurent
Located in San Francisco, CA
A wonderful 1980s Yves Saint Laurent gray denim 2-piece skirt and jacket ensemble with pink linen collar and cuffs. Skirt has a wide waistband, slightly gathered in volume with patc...
Category

1980s Yves Saint Laurent

1980s Yves Saint Laurent Over-The-Knee Pink Suede Flat Boots w Black Piping
By Yves Saint Laurent
Located in San Francisco, CA
1980s Yves Saint Laurent over-the-knee pink suede flat boots w black piping. Squared toe box. Never worn. Size 7M.
Category

1980s Yves Saint Laurent

Yves Saint Laurent 60s Green Velour Fedora
By Yves Saint Laurent
Located in San Francisco, CA
Yves Saint Laurent 60s olive green velour fedora with faux leather band. Originally sold at I. Magnin. Inner band measures 21"
Category

1960s Yves Saint Laurent

Yves Saint Laurent Ikat Pattern Knit Jacket with Peplum - Unlabeled.
By Yves Saint Laurent
Located in San Francisco, CA
A fabulous Yves Saint Laurent wool knit jacket in an Ikat pattern with banded striped edging, peplum and shoulder emphasis. Buttons down front. Missing tag.
Category

1980s Yves Saint Laurent

Yves Saint Laurent Gorgeous 70s Braid and Tassel Belt
By Yves Saint Laurent
Located in San Francisco, CA
A gorgeous Yves Saint Laurent braid and tassel belt in kelly green yellow and coral. Small to medium size. Absolutely stunning.
Category

1970s Yves Saint Laurent

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