He is the man who became known for his many sayings, including “Fashions fade, style is eternal” and “Over the years I have learned that what is important in a dress is the woman who is wearing it”. However, there many other things to learn about Yves Saint Laurent and here are some of these facts.
His first customers were his sisters
In his early teens, Laurent started out by designing dresses for his mother and two sisters, Michelle and Brigitte. Before, he created paper dolls, which is how he discovered his love for fashion. His mother took notice and his whole life turned upside down when his mother took him to Paris to meet Michael de Brunhoff, the editor of French Vogue.
He worked for Dior
After winning the first prize in the International Wool Secretariat contest for a dress he designed in 1954, YSL started working for Christian Dior at 18. The young designer was in awe of the French master, saying: “I couldn’t speak in front of him. He taught me the basis of my art. Whatever was to happen next, I never forgot the years I spent at his side.” All his hard work seemed to pay off when he became Dior’s creative director at 21.
He served in the army
When his native country, Algeria called, YSL replied and joined thei army. However, he only managed to serve for 20 days as he suffered a nervous breakdown and was transferred to a mental French hospital, where he unfortunately underwent electroshock therapy. When he returned to Paris in 1962, he found out that he was released from Dior and that’s when he started his own fashion label, YSL.
His entire life was plagued with mental disorders and addictions
Several issues from YSL’s childhood and army experience impacted the rest of his life. He had a lifelong battle with bi-polar disorder, alcoholism, and drug abuse. However, many argue that his demons allowed him to express himself better through his work.
His work is an inspiration and empowerment to women and ethnic minorities
YSL is said to be the designer who made fashion more democratic and available to more women. He was also the first designer to use models who were from ethnic minorities.