Yves Saint Lau­rent

Emirates Man - - FEATURE FASHION -

“Fash­ions fade, style is eter­nal.” So said Yves Saint Lau­rent, one of fash­ion’s great­est names, who died from brain can­cer in June 2008. Lau­rent would have turned 80 this Au­gust. For many, the French-Al­ge­rian de ned how women dressed for sev­eral decades, ever since he launched his iconic and leg­endary Trapeze col­lec­tion in 1958, aged just 21, for Chris­tian Dior. He went on to dom­i­nate and rad­i­calise women’s fash­ion in the 1960s and ’70s, in­tro­duc­ing sa­fari jack­ets, trench coats and leop­ard prints.

His de­signs of­ten caused a stir. In the late 1960s, his sug­ges­tion that women could and would wear trousers every day was met with de­ri­sion (but proved to be true), while his 1971 col­lec­tion, in­spired by 1940s style, was slammed by many and he was ac­cused of ro­man­ti­cis­ing the Ger­man oc­cu­pa­tion of France dur­ing the Sec­ond World War.

The 1980s were also a mixed bag for Saint Lau­rent. High­lights in­cluded be­com­ing the rst liv­ing fash­ion de­signer to have a solo ex­hi­bi­tion at ew York’s Metropoli­tan Mu­seum f Art, but his pr t- -porter fash­ion show in ew York in 1987 was widely con­demmed be­cause it fea­tured jewelled jack­ets worth $100,000 just days af­ter the Black Mon­day stock mar­ket crash.

But the world never for­got his con­tri­bu­tion to fash­ion, and he was given the rank of Com­mader of the Le­gion Of Hon­our (France’s mil­i­tary and civil mer­its), by then pres­i­dent Jac ues Chirac in 2001. He re­tired a year later and lived in or­mandy and Morocco in his nal days with his French bull­dog Mou­jik. “I par­tic­i­pated in the trans­for­ma­tion of my era,” he once said. “I did it with clothes, which is surely less im­por­tant than mu­sic, ar­chi­tec­ture, paint­ing… but what­ever it’s worth I did it.”

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