I think it’s quite common to suggest that only women can have an impact on women’s fashion. That’s just not true. It’s particularly clear when you look at the word of Yves Saint Laurent.
Yves St Laurent was a designer who passed away in 2008. He was mentored by Dior himself and was constantly focused on female fashion.
The designer made dresses for his sisters and mother as a child, before erupting onto the fashion scene.
He was controversial, bold and his mark is still felt in the fashion world to this day.
Saint Laurent’s Grand Concepts
I feel like there are a few main concepts we have to focus on when discussing Saint Laurent. First, he was one of the first designers to decide to reinvent men’s fashion designs for women.
This is quite common in the fashion world today. Back in the ’60s, it was virtually unheard of. That all changed with Saint Laurent.
He introduced iconic possibilities including the women’s tuxedo and the women’s safari jacket.
Both took the fashion world by storm and received high levels of praise.
In contrast, Saint Laurent also favored highlighting a women’s form as well. Again, during his time, that was quite rare. He created outfits that elevated the feminine features rather than hiding them away.
The styles were playful, beautiful and nowhere near as conservative as the options that the industry was accustomed to.
A further concept was using under clothing for outer clothing. Again, it’s an option that is commonly accepted today. During his time, the idea was innovative, exciting and even bewildering.
Ahead Of His Time
Of course, Saint Laurent was always creating designs that were not widely accepted. At least not at first. Indeed, he unveiled his Pop Art collection in 1966 and critics were completely taken aback.
There were slim-line fur coats as well as dresses. They were inspired by artists like Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein. Saint Laurent was well known for taking inspiration from art.
Potentially, the most significant impact he had on fashion for women was Le Smoking. This was the women’s tux. It had a white ruffled shirt, a satin dinner jacket and a satin side-stripe down the trousers.
Why was it so bold? Well, during this time women wearing trousers in public was quite controversial. The alternative was a black cocktail dress.
There was certainly opposition too. Many restaurants and hotels refused female guests the option of wearing the tux inside.
I love a story about Nan Kempner regarding this. After being refused entry to Le Cote Basque she removed the trousers and wore the jacket as a mini skirt.
Famously, the manager claimed women wearing trousers to dinner was akin to them wearing a bathing suit.
Second Wave Feminism
Saint Laurents styles were certainly part of the second wave of feminism. He had a profound impact on what women were able to wear. He helped raise the question: if men can wear it why can’t I?
It’s a question that’s still relevant today. Every so often there are protests when women are treated unfairly for wearing something a man would have no issues with.
Saint Laurent had a number of inspirations in his style choices. For instance, artist Niki de Saint-Phalle was a major point of focus.
She was well known for wearing heels with men’s suits. She wasn’t the only one. Marlene Dietrich and Greta Garbo were both famous for doing the same.
Did The Tuxedo Suit Disappear?
I know you probably think that this example of fashion vanished, but it’s not the case. It’s still around today and is often redesigned or reinvented to stunning effect.
For instance, it’s been remade into a trench coat and been created with shorts rather than trousers.
It is also still popular with the current designer of YSL, Stefano Pilati.
Owning Yves Saint Laurent Designs
Yves Saint Laurent’s designs are as popular today as they were in the 60s and quite expensive. You might love the idea of adding pieces to your wardrobe.
If so, I recommend you try an online fashion store like FarFetch. You’ll find great deals and offers from brands like YSL right here.
It’s a great way to buy the best and still save. You too will be able to celebrate the work of this iconic designer.
It’s fascinating to note that the work of Saint Laurent has become timeless. The concepts behind it are still just as relevant today as they were then, albeit far more accepted in society.