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Yves Saint Laurent – Fashion Designer Extraordinaire

His name is known throughout the world and graces the garments of international celebrities. A celebrity himself, this renowned fashion designer began life in Algeria. His name? Yves Saint Laurent.

Through the years Yves Saint Laurent has established a remarkable reputation for outstanding design and has established a leading fashion empire. He is known as one of the greatest and most influential fashion designers of the twentieth century. Although Saint Laurent has retired, he has left behind an important legacy and he will not easily be forgotten.

Yves Henri Donat Mathieu-Saint-Laurent was born in 1936 in the city of Oran, Algeria. From a young age, Yves Saint Laurent showed a keen interest in design and at the age of 17 he left Algeria, hoping to make a name for himself in Paris, France. In 1954 he won a design contest and soon found himself employed by Christian Dior. At the 21 years of age, after Dior died in 1957, Saint Laurent became the Haute Couture designer and rescued the fashion house from ruin.

Not long after his success at Dior, Yves Saint Laurent was conscripted by the French army. In 1962 Saint Laurent established his own design label, called YSL, with the assistance of Pierre Bergé. His first collection, called “Ligne Trapeze”, was a great success. Following this, Saint Laurent designed a number of exciting, popular trends, including the ‘beatnik’ look and ‘Le Smoking’ suit. He managed to recreate feminine sophistication and to blend couture into everyday street wear.

In the year 1983, Yves Saint Laurent was honored to be the only living fashion designer to be hailed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. His fashion house was sold to Sanofi in 1993 and in 1999 Gucci purchased the YSL label. Saint-Laurent continued to design the haute couture, whilst Tom Ford was put in charge of the ready-to-wear clothing. Yves Saint Laurent retired in 2002 and spends much time in his home country, Algeria.

Indeed, Algerian born Yves Saint Laurent has left an indelible mark on the world of fashion. An innovative designer, he introduced numerous new trends and brought out the glamour in every woman who wore his clothing. He was the first to use items typically aimed at men to outline the beauty of women, including tuxedos, leather jackets, pant suits and blazers. He loved art, and reflected this in his creations. Saint Laurent was also inspired by folk and ethnic elements from various cultures. Yves Saint Laurent has contributed much to fashion and his legacy will remain for many years to come.


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