Yves Saint Laurent was a brilliant designer and visionary, a champion of diversity and a lover of the female form. He began his career at Dior taking over as creative director after Christian’s sudden death at the age of 52 when the young designer was just 21. Like his predecessor, Yves transformed fashion under the name Dior with styles such as his trapeze dress, but he didn’t flex his creative muscle to its full extent until he began his own house in 1961 after being fired from the house of Dior.
At Fashion North, we believe one of his greatest and lasting influences on fashion was the introduction of the suit for women. He strove for equality and fully supported the feminist movement, creating his eponymous le smoking tuxedo for his 1966 collection which rebelled loudly against the scandal of women wearing trousers in public. Whilst such garments had been worn by women in the past, it had never been done with such vigour and to such extent.
His celebration of and desire to free the female form continued as he produced collections featuring sheer blouses and organza tops during the sexual revolution and second wave of feminism in the 60s. Whilst Chanel is said to have freed women, Saint Laurent is said to have empowered women to free themselves.