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Yves Saint Laurent Ephemera

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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New Tom Ford for Yves Saint Laurent YSL Lotus Heels Final Collection 2004 Sz 38
By Yves Saint Laurent
Located in Leesburg, VA
Yves Saint Laurent Heels Brand New * Tom Ford Era Lotus Slides * This was his last collection for Yves Saint Laurent. He was inspired by the Chinese Collection of 1977 * Own a Piece ...
Category

Early 2000s Yves Saint Laurent Ephemera

Yves Saint Laurent "Hearts to Hearts" Huge Multi-Rhinestone Brooch
By Yves Saint Laurent
Located in New York, NY
Yves Saint Laurent wonderfully elegant yet whimsical "Hearts to Hearts" huge multi-rhinestone brooch set in gilded gold hardware measures 2" in width as well a...
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Early 2000s Yves Saint Laurent Ephemera

1991 Yves Saint Laurent Framed "Love" Poster in the Style of Andy Warhol
By Yves Saint Laurent
Located in Los Angeles, CA
1991 Yves Saint Laurent "Love" poster featuring Yves' famous pug Moujik as painted by Andy Warhol. Poster is framed with wooden frame. In excellent condition. MEASUREMENTS: Width ...
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1990s Yves Saint Laurent Ephemera

Yves Saint Laurent Black Hand-Woven & Sequins Bracelet
By Yves Saint Laurent
Located in New York, NY
Yves Saint Laurent wonderful detailed bracelet combines micro hand-woven cashmere as the base. Next, over the cashmere would be a layer of micro hand-sequins, then a combined woven "...
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1990s Yves Saint Laurent Ephemera

Yves Saint Laurent Gilded Gold and Pearl Clip-On Earrings
By Yves Saint Laurent
Located in New York, NY
Yves Saint Laurent Gilded gold with gilded chain detailing pearl clip-on earrings measures 1" in length, 5/8" in width and 6/20" in depth.
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1970s Yves Saint Laurent Ephemera

Yves Saint Laurent Gilded Gold with Pearl Bracelet
By Yves Saint Laurent
Located in New York, NY
Yves Saint Laurent's gilded gold hardware with large faux pearl centered bracelet measures 8" in length, 1 3/8" in width and 1/2" in height. Wonderfully elegant and classic, this is ...
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1980s Yves Saint Laurent Ephemera

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Previously Available Items
Yves Saint Laurent Attributed Vintage Rare Star Hair Comb
By Yves Saint Laurent
Located in Nice, FR
YVES SAINT LAURENT (attributed to) vintage rare hair comb featuring a textured gold tone star embellished with a green resin cabochon and white crystals. Unsigned. Marked "Made...
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20th Century Yves Saint Laurent Ephemera

Yves Saint Laurent Signed Original Double Sided Fashion Drawing
By Yves Saint Laurent
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A gift from Yves Saint Laurent to his dear friend Marina Schiano this charming and original fashion drawing shows a woman in a classic YSL suit with an exaggerated bow at the neckli...
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1970s Yves Saint Laurent Ephemera

Saint Laurent New Black Brown Cashmere Men's Wool Couch Chair Throw Blanket
By Yves Saint Laurent
Located in Chicago, IL
CURATOR'S NOTES Saint Laurent New Black Brown Cashmere Reversible Men's Wool Couch Chair Throw Blanket Cashmere and wool Made in Italy Measures 50" W x 70" L
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21st Century and Contemporary Yves Saint Laurent Ephemera

YVES SAINT LAURENT gilt bracelet with sea shells
By Yves Saint Laurent
Located in San Fransisco, CA
Organically shaped gilt sea shell bracelet accented with actual shells from Yves Saint Laurent dating to the 1980's. Fits a medium to larger sized wrist. Secures at 8" or 9" long. To...
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Yves Saint Laurent Original Drawing
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Yves Saint Laurent and his inner circle of jet setting friends were legendary around the world. This is a personal note from Yves to one of those famous friends. He was vacationing a...
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Yves Saint Laurent Original Drawing
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Yves Saint Laurent Original 1976 New Years Card ,framed
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Each year, Yves Saint Laurent would personally illustrate a New Years Card for his close friends and special clients.<br /> This was a gift to one of his top clients, in 1976.<br />...
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Yves Saint Laurent Original Drawing
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1970s Yves Saint Laurent Ephemera

Yves Saint Laurent Men's Money Clip with Diamond Stud Accent
By Yves Saint Laurent
Located in New York, NY
Yves Saint Laurent men's money clip in gold vermeil hardware finishing , engraved with diamond patterned & embellished with a .05 Kt diamond. Money clip measures 1 1/2" x 5/8". P...
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1970s Yves Saint Laurent Ephemera

Rare Vintage Yves Saint Laurent Tea Set Hand Painted Grape Print Brand New YSL
By Yves Saint Laurent
Located in Chicago, IL
Amazing, rare vintage Yves Saint Laurent brand new tea set! Features a set of five tea cups, along with tea kettle, and infuser. Hand painted green grapes and grape leaves on each pi...
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