Tuesday, May 26, 2009

History Lesson - YSL

History has brought us a long way. As we learn from it, we can grow from it. YSL is one of the most influential designers in history, so why not learn a bit about his story - and in turn gain some inspiration from his trip through life.

Yves Saint Laurent- The Early Years

Yves Saint Laurent was one of the most influential designers of his time, but he, just like everyone else, had to push through and show his creative style to come out on top.

Laurent was born in Algeria to a father who was the president of an insurance company, and a mother who did not work. Laurent was inspired by fashion at a young age, always wanting to express himself with it. He was greatly influenced by his mother, who was an example of pure class. Knowing fashion was his true passion, he attended a school for Couture design in Algeria. Shortly after starting, he realized that "learning" how to create and communicate a style is not how you design something wonderful. He wanted to learn through experience, so he left the school, and interviewed for a job at the Christian Dior Fashion House.

He was smart, able and creative. In 1957, with Dior nearing financial ruin, this was something the Dior fashion house needed very badly. He met personally with Dior who hired him on the spot after only spending 15 minutes talking to him. Shortly after starting, Dior said this about him, "After seeing his first collection I know he is the man who could change woman's clothes".

Just months after Laurent started working there, the sudden and unexpected death of Dior came. With the death of Dior, no one was certain how the house would survive even one more year. Laurent was appointed the lead designer of all Dior sketches, and so became in charge of the 1958 Dior collection. This collection became a sudden sensation. One item in particular, the trapeze dress, designed by Laurent, quickly became the newest fashion trend. Laurent's designs were meticulous and perfectly proportioned as Dior's designs had been. Some argued that Laurent's were actually better as he introduced softer, lighter and easier to wear clothing. Through that one collection alone, the Dior fashion house was saved.

The lines from then on were more daring and bold. Laurent loved the "Beat" look of 1950's and 1960's rock and roll. The Dior had the name on all the designs, but people fell in love with Laurent. The president of the fashion house at the time was furious, as Laurent was not supposed to become so internationally looked up to.

When Laurent was drafted into the French war in 1960, the management of the Dior fashion house raised no objection and sent him away. Laurent lasted 20 days in the war, but quickly became too traumatized by the death and destruction of war, that he quickly found himself in the French Mental Hospital being treated for a nervous breakdown by psychiatrists. The treatment he received included brain shock therapy and electric shock treatment, which aided his death years later.

As he had proven to be of no help to the army, he was released in 1962. He went back to Dior to continue on his path of designing, but was let go shortly after returning as he continued to have nervous breakdowns.

Out on his own, he and his lover at the time, created their own company-"YSL" featuring all Laurent's original designs. This was just the start of the company internationally known today.

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