The Story of Yves Saint Laurent and His Most Iconic Designs to Date

Behind the fashion show

The story of Yves Saint Laurent and his most iconic designs to date

Are you interested in adding some additional fashionable styles to your wardrobe? If so I highly recommend you consider the designs of Yves Saint Laurent. He is one of the most popular designers today. 

Let’s dive into his story and discover why you definitely want his name in your wardrobe. 

The Story Of Yves Saint Laurent 

Saint Laurent was a fashion designer, born in Algeria. Before he even reached 20, he travelled to Paris to work for Christian Dior. 

Saint Laurent immediately gained acclaim for his dress designs. By 1966, he had launched his own labels. He was particularly praised for his selection of women tuxedos. 

He was one of the first designers to receive an independent exhibition at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. This occurred in 1983. 

Tragically, the designer passed on in June 2008 after a battle with brain cancer. 

A Solace In Fashion 

I know that the designer was actually bullied as a child. It was for this reason that he turned to fashion. The designer loved creating dressed for his mother and sisters. 

Incredibly this lead to his mother taking him to Paris to meet Michael de Brunhoff. The man who was then the editor of French Vogue. 

Michael had been impressed by his drawings and it leads to Saint Laurent moving to Paris. He quickly enrolled in the Chambre Syndicale de la Couture. 

It was here that his designs first gained a lot of notice. I find quotes from Saint Laurent to be particularly interesting.

He constantly spoke about how Dior fascinated him and made him nervous at the same time. He was clearly inspired by what he learned and implemented it into his own designs. 

Iconic Designs 

Saint Laurent is known for countless designs that I’m familiar with and I’m sure you will be too. The first example of this was the ‘Trapeze’ collection. It broke fashion norms completely and was unveiled in 1958.

This was shortly after Dior’s passing and suggested Saint Laurent as the next leader in the industry. 

Another popular example of his designs is the Mondrian dress. It’s a straight dress with particular blocks of colour. There are also black lines to form a cross. The dress was inspired by paintings from Piet Mondrian. 

The safari jacket is another stylish example of Saint Laurent’s work. This was a popular trend for the designer. He would take an aspect of men’s fashion and reinvent it completely for women. 

The jacket was a tremendous hit through 1967, during the same time he released the women’s tuxedo. 

I think it’s clear that Saint Laurent was always a massive fan of art. This was displayed throughout his designs. Perhaps the best example of this was the series of dresses released in 1988.

These celebrated the work of Pablo Picasso and looked absolutely incredible. They were a huge part of the spring/summer season of that year. 

Saint Laurent even had dresses that were inspired by folklore. Perhaps the most famous were the 1976 Ballets Russes. These were typically referred to as the Rich Peasant. 

One of the key dresses was a light design with a front lace corset top. This was a startling example of underwear becoming outerwear. 

Sparking Controversy

I think it’s fascinating that his designs weren’t always well received. It’s true, his 1971 collection was described as tarty. 

Many critics compared the models to streetwalkers. Why did it create such an uproar?

Saint Laurent used the designs to accentuate feminine features rather than hide them away. He wanted to showcase, the hips, waist and indeed the breasts. It was this, he said that was the reason for the massive uproar. 

In truth, the designs were simply ahead of their time. Merely, a decade later they would be fully embraced by the fashion world. 


Yves Saint Laurent retired from the fashion world in 2002, six years before his death. Shortly after his retirement, there was a retrospective of his work. 

This took place in the Centre Pompidou. It saw supermodels including Claudia Schiffer wearing his designs on the runway. 

When Can You Buy Saint Laurent Designs?

Saint Laurent is an incredibly popular designer. So, you can definitely find his products in fashionable boutiques. Whether you can afford his products could be another matter. 

This style isn’t cheap, but there are ways to save. You could purchase Saint Laurent designs from FarFetch; A great online hub for designer clothing, I regularly find offers and deals from there.

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