Saint Laurent was founded in 1961 by designer Yves Saint Laurent and his partner, Pierre Bergé. During the 1960s and 1970s, the fashion house popularized fashion trends such as the beatnik look, safari jackets for men and women, tight pants, and tall, thigh-high boots, including the creation of arguably the most famous classic tuxedo suit for women in 1966, Le Smoking suit. His most memorable collections include Pop Art, Ballet Russes, Picasso, and Chinese ones.
He also started mainstreaming the idea of wearing throwback silhouettes in the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s. The brand continued to expand in the 1980s and early 1990s with fragrances for both men and women. Having launched its cosmetic line in 1978. However, by 1992, the company’s profits were declining, and the company’s share price had fallen.
In 1993, the Saint Laurent fashion house was sold to the pharmaceutical company, Sanofi.
In 1999 PPR bought the YSL brand and asked Ford to design the ready-to-wear collection, while Saint Laurent created the haute couture collection. In 2002, dogged by years of poor health, drug abuse, depression, alcoholism, and criticisms of YSL designs, Saint Laurent closed the couture house of YSL. Reflecting on his career and impact on the fashion industry, Saint Laurent said, “I created the contemporary woman’s wardrobe.”
Yves Saint Laurent died in 2008, but the legacy and brand continue to live on with a resurgence of YSL.
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