Yves Saint Laurent
Eighteen-year-old wunderkind Yves Saint Laurent was appointed Dior’s assistant in 1955 and promoted to head designer in 1957, aged just 21. His first collection, Trapèze, in 1958, marked a shift from the cinched-waist styles Christian Dior had favoured and introduced a fresh silhouette with narrower shoulders and a flared hem, setting the tone for a brave new era. His 1960 collection, Beat, was influenced by Paris streetwear and youth culture and by the beatniks of the time – a fundamental shift in fashion. It proposed a leather jacket (pictured far left) as a couture item for women, a move that proved to be too much of a departure from the then-conservative label’s traditional ladylike look and saw the designer controversially fired.