As fashion zipped through its formative years — those ups and downs between the roaring ’20s all the way up to the minimalist ’90s — a palette of trends and geniuses who would set the roadmap for the industry’s future were born. From the ’40s, the world was abuzz between visionaries Coco Chanel and Christian Dior. Shortly after, out of the ’60s and into the ’70s, a young Yves Saint Laurent found himself thrust into the spotlight. Though he lived a glamorous and troubled life, Saint Laurent’s creations would add to the belief that clothing could empower women through sex — or perhaps, the state ( er, art) of feeling sexy — but could be subdued and controlled at the same time.
His legacy as a creator began with his mother’s penchant for clean, minimal lines. Her wardrobe served as Saint Laurent’s inspiration for hoards of his earliest drawings, though many would end up on the cutting room floor once he shifted his interests to the theater. After receiving a nudge from his father (who insisted he pursue the art of making clothes instead), Saint Laurent charged forward and never looked back. He’d go on to assist Monsieur Dior for several years, and finally, take over the house before launching his eponymous label. He’d eventually find himself ensnared in a tumultuous web of affairs with drugs, Morocco, his pals Betty Catroux and Loulou de la Falaise, and enduring heart ache — all of which inspired his iconic creations.
From Le Smoking to the Mondrian collection to now, where his legacy has been revamped twice over by successors Hedi Slimane and Anthony Vaccarello, the Saint Laurent lineage continues to evolve season after season. And, thanks to All About Yves, the latest book on the legendary designer by Catherine Örmen, the world can catch a rare glimpse into the mind of the sensitive couturier who found himself deep in conundrums and wonder. Though many books have been published on the French fashion icon throughout the years — especially Letters To Yves, written by his longtime partner Pierre Bergé, which allowed fans and colleagues a glimpse into the heart of Saint Laurent through the eyes of his closest confidant — none have been as comprehensive as All About Yves. Replete with realistic (and removable) imitations of polaroids, personal memos, and sketches, a portrait of the designer is painted so thoroughly its as if you’re thumbing through a collection of confidential artifacts that could be sworn as the real deal.
It’s a panorama of the creative journey rooted in Proust, art, love, and travel memories that could only belong to him. And while the slideshow ahead serves as a snapshot of what to expect from the latest Saint Laurent oeuvre, it’s yet another reminder of just how important a piece he is — or fondly, perhaps the missing piece — to the grand puzzle that is fashion.
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