Yves Saint Laurent, Remembering a Fashion Legend

In a time when new ideas are hard to come by, we remember the creative minds that continue to inspire others decades, even centuries, after. Today, we remember designer Yves Saint Laurent who would have celebrated his 77th birthday. He may no longer be alive, but his work is a vital force in the foundation of all things fashion. Most importantly, he took his clothing off the runway and made them accessible to all. He transformed the female silhouette into something modern. He established the ready-to-wear movement. Click through our slideshow to see just how his innovative ideas sparked a new fashion era.



The Trapeze Dress

In 1958, at the tender age of 21, his first collection – presented for the house of Dior with the help of Pierre Bergé – revealed his trapeze dresses. The dresses were an instant hit, placing Paris on the map – smack dab in the centre of it, in fact.

The Reefer Jacket

Introduced in 1962, the reefer jacket was the beginning of Yves Saint Laurent adopting the male esthetic for female clothing. It contributed to the blueprint of Laurent’s modern woman’s wardrobe.

The Safari Jacket

A continuation of his African collection, the safari jacket – more a tunic for hot countries – was an immediate success and was sold in Rive Gauche boutiques the following season. It is another Laurent staple that has been recreated by top designers all over the world.

The Sheer Blouse

This trend regained momentum this past season, but guess where it originally started? With Laurent, of course. He introduced this silk chiffon number in 1966.

Le Smoking Tuxedo

Some may call it the beginning of androgyny. In 1966, Laurent launched Le Smoking tuxedo for women. The first of its kind, the fashion world took note and followed suit, mimicking the minimalist style for years to come.

The Jumpsuit

Featured in his 1968 spring-summer collection, the YSL jumpsuit remains an essential item in every fashion enthusiast’s closet and continues to impress on red carpets and runways.


What can we say? The man did it all. Among many other things, Laurent mastered the use of colour in the industry. Inspired by Picasso, Mondrian and Matisse, Laurent combined bright colours in the same outfit. His method of colour-blocking is still used by top designers today.

The fashion king not only pushed the envelope with clothing, he shocked the industry in the late 1970s when he included more than one black model on the runway. Martinique-native Monique Orosemane, a.k.a. Mounia, acted as his muse and launched a very successful career. Thanks to Mounia and Laurent, Naomi Campbell, Iman, Jourdan Dunn and other models of colour were later accepted into the fashion world. Mounia said of Laurent, “I was his first black muse – He helped open the door for black models. Sometimes I was his confidante, and I would sometimes inspire his creativity.”