Founded in 1961 by Yves Saint Laurent and his partner Pierre Bergé, Saint Laurent is one of the most prominent fashion houses of the 20th century.
Originally a house of Haute couture, Yves Saint Laurent revolutionized the way fashion and society merge and interact.
Saint Laurent competes globally with the most high-end exclusive luxury brands and occupies a leading position.
In 1993, YSL was sold to pharmaceutical company Sanofi for $600 million, but Saint Laurent kept creative control.
In 1999, YSL was acquired by Gucci, and Tom Ford became the creative director.
Throughout its history, Saint Laurent has been a favorite of many top celebrities and current fans of the brand, including Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Kanye West, Cameron Diaz, Margot Robbie, Emma Watson, and Rihanna.
Although the brand has an enormous following, there are some things that even the greatest fans of Saint Laurent don’t know.
Here are 15 things you didn’t know about Saint Laurent:
15 Things You Didn’t Know About Saint Laurent
1. Yves Saint Laurent Was The Youngest Creative Director To Ever Had A Major Fashion House
In 1953, Saint Laurent’s drawings caught the attention of Michel de Brunhoff, who was editor-in-chief of French Vogue at the time.
De Brunhoff showed the sketches to Christian Dior, who hired the talented young designer as an assistant in 1955.
When Dior died unexpectedly of a heart attack in 1957, the then 21-year-old Saint Laurent was made creative director of the Dior.
His first offering the Spring 1958 Trapeze collection practically saved the house from financial ruin.
However, things took a turn in 1960 when Saint Laurent found himself obligated to serve in the French army during the Algerian war of independence.
2. Saint Laurent Started His Label After He Was Fired From Dior
Yves Saint Laurent was hired by Dior when he was a teenager.
And when Christian Dior died suddenly, a couple of years later, he was named the head designer of the House of Dior when he was only 21.
He was conscripted to serve in the French army three years later during the Algerian war of independence, but he only served 20 days before he was admitted to a military hospital because of the psychological effects of constant hazing by fellow soldiers…
It was at the hospital when he was told that he had been fired by Dior.
After he was released from the hospital in 1960, he successfully sued Dior for breach of contract.
And then, with the 48,000 pounds of settlement money, he started his own fashion house along with his romantic partner, Pierre Bergé.
3. Yves Saint Laurent Invented The Tuxedo For A Woman
Coco Chanel designed loose trousers for women in the early 20th century.
And during World War II, pants were worn by many women out of necessity while they were doing manual labor in the men’s absence.
But Saint Laurent was the first to bring pants suits to the world of high fashion evening wear!
His 1966 line offered trousers and a new take on the classic tuxedo called the Le Smoking Jacket… Although many fashion critics were not impressed!
The look was embraced by a few high-profile women, including Liza Minnelli, Lauren Bacall, and Bianca Jagger.
It became such an iconic part of the company that it was recreated in different forms in every collection from then until the present day.
4. The Brand’s Name Was Changed In 2012
Popularly called Yves Saint Laurent since its creation in 1961, in 2012, the creative director Hedi Slimane changed the brand’s name to Saint Laurent Paris.
Slimane’s dramatic four-year rebranding of the label which stripped Yves from the nomenclature certainly divided opinions.
Slimane took a unique and controversial approach to runway shows casting models reminiscent of the Kate Moss era playing music recorded especially for the event – infusing men’s and women’s collections to emphasize the gender-fluid message.
While each of Saint Laurent’s successors had undoubtedly made their mark on the fashion house, none transformed it quite like Hedi Slimane.
5. Saint Laurent Was The First Couturier To Launch A Ready-To-Wear Line
In 1966, Saint Laurent made a major mark on the high-fashion scene when he launched a ready-to-wear line with a boutique in Paris called the Saint Laurent Rive Gauche.
This was the first time a couturier successfully launched a ready-to-wear line in France.
People waited in line up to three hours to purchase items in the first several weeks of its opening.
The ready-to-wear fashion allowed Saint Laurent to make his designs more accessible to the mainstream customer, and this allowed him to increase his profits and his brand’s popularity.
6. The YSL Logo Also Changed In 2012
Yves Saint Laurent’s original logo boasting the sweeping YSL was crafted by graphic artist Cassandra in 1961 and promptly became one of the most memorable and untouchable symbols in fashion.
However, in 2012, newly throned creative director Hedi Slimane revealed an aesthetic change that sent shock waves throughout the brand’s following.
The classic logo was replaced with a minimal Helvetica type that dropped the Yves all together and homage to the house’s first ready-to-wear line in 1966.
While the classic YSL remains branded on some accessories and the house’s hot couture line, ready-to-wear and many accessories are now labeled with the new moniker of Saint Laurent Paris.
7. Many Fine Dining Restaurants Initially Would Not Seat Women Who Were Wearing A YSL Trouser Suit
When Yves Saint Laurent introduced the women’s trouser suit in 1966, not everyone embraced the fashion-forward idea.
Many fine dining restaurants would turn away women who showed up in the YSL trouser suits, refusing to serve them because they deemed their attire inappropriate.
Nan Kempner, a famous New York socialite, was turned away from the Côte Basque restaurant in New York while wearing her YSL tuxedo suit.
She defiantly took the pants off, wore the jacket as a thigh-skimming mini dress, and was then permitted inside.
8. YSL Did A Runway Show In The 1988 World Cup Finals
On 12 July 1988, Yves Saint Laurent staged a monumental fashion show featuring 300 designs at the Stade de France for the FIFA World Cup.
900 people helped to organize the 15-minute event which was viewed by 1.7 billion international spectators on live television.
9. Justin Bieber Was Wearing Saint Laurent When He Won His First Grammy Award
In 2016, Justin Bieber won his first Grammy Award for Best Dance Recording for his song “Where Are You Now” while wearing a white jacket and a Saint Laurent tuxedo.
His plus-one was his six-year-old little brother Jaxson, who was also wearing a Saint Laurent tux.
He also wore a leopard jacket by Saint Laurent while performing at the award show.
But Justin supporting Saint Laurent is nothing new.
He has often been seen in the brand’s clothing both on stage and in his personal life.
10. Tom Ford Was YSL’s Creative Director
The house of Yves Saint Laurent was bought by the Gucci group and Tom Ford was also heading up the Italian label Gucci at the time and he was appointed as creative director.
Ford signified a new mood for the label.
His debut collection made an impact, and it presented monochromatic looks and void of accessories.
The relationship between Tom Ford and Saint Laurent was tense… With Ford claiming that Saint Laurent didn’t approve his vision for the brand despite critical acclaim and skyrocketing sales!
Ford left the brand in 2004 and was replaced by former designer Stefano Pilati.
11. Bianca Jagger Wore A YSL Le Smoking Jacket For Her Wedding
When Nicaraguan-born Blanca Pérez-Mora Macías married Mick Jagger in 1971, her outfit of choice ensured that all eyes were on the bride.
She wore a perfectly tailored YSL Le Smoking jacket with nothing underneath, along with a long white skirt and a large veiled Sun Hat.
Mick Jagger wore a green suit and sneakers.
Although, the couple divorced 8 years later.
12. Yves Saint Laurent’s First Taste Of Fashion Was Designing Dresses For Paper Dolls
Saint Laurent grew up in a Mediterranean villa alongside his older sisters, Michèle and Brigitte.
As a timid schoolboy, Saint Laurent was bullied by his peers at the catholic church he attended, leading him to seek refuge in design.
At a young age, he would use scraps of his mother’s clothes to create miniature couture ensembles for paper dolls and stage fashion shows with these dolls for his siblings and their friends.
He would even go so far as to create elaborate invitations for the invitees.
As he grew older, Saint Laurent moved from designing ensembles for paper dolls to dreaming up dresses for his mother and sisters.
13. One Of The ‘Nicki’ Boots Options Is Encrusted With 3,000 Swarovski Crystals
The Niki boots are a major component of Saint Laurent’s fall line, but there is one pair in particular that really stands out.
The Niki Swarovski Crystal-embellished leather knee boots are handcrafted with black leather that is encrusted with 3,000 Swarovski Crystals that cover every inch of the boot.
They can be yours for a little over $9,000.
14. Yves Saint Laurent Revolutionized The Way Women Dress
His biggest regret may be that he didn’t invent denim, but the designer has revolutionized the way women dress in more ways than one can imagine.
The prolific Saint Laurent was the creator of the still iconic Le Smoking – the first-ever women’s tuxedo suit that quickly became a symbol of emancipation in the 1960s.
During his last Couture show in 2002, the designer recalled – “I always wanted to put myself at the service of women. I wanted to accompany them in the great movement for liberation that occurred last century!”
The constantly reinterpreted Le Smoking was the first of a string of eternal designs, including Safari jackets, black Mandarin dresses, and the Chubby from Saint Laurent’s 1971 Scandal collection.
15. Tom Ford Would Like To Completely Forget About His Time At Saint Laurent
Tom Ford, who would later create his own fashion label, became the creative director of Gucci in 1994.
When Gucci acquired Yves Saint Laurent in 1999, Tom Ford was named creative director of that label as well and worked in both roles simultaneously.
Tom says, he prefers not to think of his time as head of Saint Laurent because it was such a negative experience for him… Largely because Yves Saint Laurent and his partner Pierre Bergé were openly very critical of him.
Tom Ford said – “the two were pure evil and caused him such misery that that phase of his life simply doesn’t exist in his mind anymore!”
Alright, that’s a wrap on the list of the 15 things you didn’t know about Saint Laurent.
If you’re a huge Saint Laurent fan or already knew all of these Saint Laurent facts, then comment ‘YSL’ in the comments section.
Also, let us know which brands you would like to know more about.
Thanks for reading!
Want to know more about brands? Check this out – 15 Things You Didn’t Know About Supreme