I was about 20 years old when I saw a documentary on Yves Saint Laurent that changed my life as an artist and defined for me, what it really means to be a creator and a visionary. To say Yves Saint Laurent is a legend in the fashion industry is quite the understatement. His reign spans back over the course of 40 years, and no designer has ever had such an impact on fashion as much as Mr. Yves Saint Laurent, himself. Who else can boast the honor of being hand-picked, at the ripe age of 21, by Christian Dior to run his fashion house? From the beginning of his career, Yves Saint Laurent effortlessly created elegant statements of beauty and joie de vivre. He popularized fashion trends within the arts (a huge effort within the Purple Lemonade) and sustained a successful firm doing what he not only was amazing at but loved to do. His resilience and determination following his tumultuous departure from Dior led to him building his namesake couture house that would become one of the most well known and respected fashion houses in the world.
Whether you know it or not, we all owe a huge debt to Mr. Laurent for changing the way we dress and how we all interact with fashion. YSL championed Ready-to-wear as a way to put fashion in the everyday world and not only in the couture houses. It was Saint Laurent who scandalized the fashion world with the creation of Le Smoking; the woman’s tuxedo. YSL combined seduction and decadence in a way that few could. He took the industry by storm and pushed his ideas out in such a manner, that only made people want to wear his brand that much more; thus becoming the blueprint for designers like Marc Jacobs and Tom Ford (the latter of which succeeded him after his retirement…and Yves Saint Laurent made no effort to quiet his displeasure when Mr. Ford did not live up to his expectations *batting eyes*). Yves St. Laurent continued to push boundaries throughout his career both creatively and culturally. Monsieur St. Laurent was one of the first designers to embrace diversity on the runway and frequently hired black models at a time when few would. His legacy was so great that he was the first living designer honored with a retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
This is just our cliff notes on one of our idols in the arts; Yves Saint Laurent. This October, the Seattle Art Museum will be honoring the legendary creator with a retrospective of his work. This will be a must-see, not only for the fashion but moreover the historical influence that YSL has had on modern culture. Before you hit up the exhibit, we encourage you to watch the documentary that brought this creative to life for me, “Yves Saint Laurent: His Life & Times.” – Viv
For more information on the Seattle Art Museum’s, Yves Saint Laurent; The Perfection of Style check out the link below.