Tag Archives: Yves St. Laurent

Yves Saint Laurent, 2006

It’s not just the radical shift in proportion, from pipe-cleaner to Oxford bags. Something of greater significance seems to be changing for Hedi Slimane. Following his show, he admitted to a new mood of melancholy. The staging certainly supported such a notion. His boys—all thin as usual, some now fearfully attenuated—walked in shadows, illuminated by a pillar of fire that burned biblically at the end of the runway throughout the presentation.

Whatever the deeper symbolism, Slimane is certainly in a reflective frame of mind. He talked about a return to the couture concept with which he launched his career (phoenix to the flame?), and the precision and detailing of his clothes were a tribute to the handiwork of his atelier. Nothing displays such skills better than eveningwear; was that why Slimane’s collection was dominated by variations on Le Smoking? It made for an intriguing tip of the cap to Yves Saint Laurent, the master in whose footsteps he once followed.

Such clothes also seemed designed to appeal to Hedi’s female clientele, most obviously items like a beaded bolero, a tiny gilet with kimono sleeves, or a jacket that turned to reveal a beaded, ruched back. Perhaps that’s his way of announcing he’s ready to stretch a little. Still, there were plenty of items that were unmistakably from a man’s wardrobe: a tweed topcoat, a duffel with braided closings, a pinstriped suit, a black leather blouson. Meanwhile, the formal details—the satin waistband on a pair of trousers, pearl buttons on a shirt, the ribbons tied at the throat—were balanced by the waistband of old jeans worn as a grunge cummerbund.

by TIM BLANKS for STYLE.COM January 31, 2006

Yves Saint Laurent, 2000

What’s My Line?


 August 1, 1936 – June 1, 2008

Paris, 1984

In 1984, Antonia Hilke presents runway footage from the collections shown by Anne Marie Beretta, Claude Montana, Junko Koshino, Thierry Mugler, Dorothee Bis, Yves St. Laurent, and Comme Des Garcons.

L’Amour Fou

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Like any world so heavily rooted in fantasy and the drama of human desire, fashion is a world of mythologies. The myth of the grand couturier, the glamourous model, the shrewd fashion editor, the cliques, the rivalries, the triumphs, the tragedies: devices of sorts that fuel the industry, propelling it as a means of entertainment to the delight of those content to unravel its inner mysteries via television or an exposé documentary. It brings the question of what is actually left to engage once fashion has had its sheen polished off by the voracious and undiscerning. With director Pierre Thoretton’s newest film, L’Amour Fou, this question was not answered but instead made irrelevant. Taking form around Pierre Bergé as he auctions off the vast collection he and his dead lover amassed over several decades, it breaches what is possibly one of fashion’s most revered mythologies of all: Yves St.Laurent, the grandest of all couturiers whose scale of suffering and accomplishments would make prudent material for even the most woeful of Greek tragedies. L’Amour Fou is not about fashion, it’s about everything else that matters.

Bergé and St. Laurent’s art collection is a legend of its own within the fashion world; a testament to the pair’s devotion to beauty and the tangible macrocosm, the total aesthetic universe, which St. Laurent’s own fashions existed within. For a designer who was acclaimed not as a couturier but as an artist — the rarest of all distinctions, the importance of the collection cannot be stressed enough. The stories within each piece, ranging from Mondrian to ancient Chinese ceramics, relics in the temple of YSL, are loaded with personal history and are as key to the lore of St. Laurent as any of the great thematic couture. The anticipated cathartic release Bergé experiences as he sends off the collection piece by piece is as real and intense as expected. To say in the least, Thoretton handles this drama with an elegance and complexity that parallels the myth itself, using archival footage, interviews, and beautifully filmed portraits of Bergé at his most vulnerable and expressive moments to tell the story of the man’s greatest love. If the subject matter was not enough, Thoretton’s adept storytelling abilities hits with an exacting subtlety, his narrative is strong but it is as much his as it is Bergé’s, or even the late St. Laurent’s.

In our world of celebrity, the one fashion designers must now humor and occasionally fall victim to, St. Laurent would be considered a god in his own right and his life so easily chronicled with a gawking gaze. Thoretton acknowledges and dismisses this with a slew of contradictions that define the film; addressing and denouncing the viewers expectation of spectacle and scandal, bringing them far beyond a comfort threshold that is often taken for granted within fashion but is all too real. But then L’Amour Fou is not a fashion film, it’s a film about love and saying goodbye and is maybe the most fitting homage to fashion’s greatest romantic.

L’Amour Fou opens in New York May13th at the IFC and the Paris Theater

Christian Dior, 1957

For Life magazine, photographer Loomis Dean focused his lens on the present and unwittingly captured a blurred glimpse of the future.

With the rumors and speculation over which designer darling will succeed John Galliano at Christian Dior reaching a fever pitch, it makes you wonder if LVMH, a vast and powerful conglomerate with many talented but unknown designers in their employment, might have exactly who they need right under their own noses.

Colorblocking, 1988

…need we say more?

Opium by YSL

Opium was imported to China by the British who procured it from their colonies in the Indian subcontinent. It was introduced in order to create a market demand for British product that was otherwise nonexistent — they needed something cheap and easy to trade for all those lovely teas and silks. Opium proved popular, too popular in fact,  and so the Chinese banned the drug citing it as an evil that was reducing their society to narcotic addled degeneracy. The resulting retaliation led to the Opium Wars, which, the Chinese lost, and the cession of Hong Kong into the British Empire.

Noses Jean Amic and Jean-Louis Sieuzac created Opium for Yves. St Laurent in 1977. In perhaps no other YSL scent is the designer’s disposition for the exotic more present. It was launched with a couture collection featuring pagoda shoulders and mandarin jackets, the mysteries of the orient echoed by the scent’s notes of mandarin, plum, cinnamon, jasmine, and orris. The scent is special in its sweet woody base notes including sandalwood and musk, creating the female equivalent of Old Spice. It’s a bold perfume, for a woman, not a girl, and as it wafts into the nostrils its effect is the kind of seduction that is pure St. Laurent. It is just as potent now as it was in 1977.