This week marked the 80th birthday of iconic French fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent. Laurent, originally from Oran in Algeria, was born on August 1st, 1936 and had two younger sisters. Here are ten things you didn’t know about the quintessential fashion influencer.
1. Laurent’s passion for creativity and fashion began at a young age where he would create intricate paper dresses for his sister’s dolls.
2. At 17, Laurent was already gaining a reputation for his designs. He moved to Paris to enrol in the French Federation of Fashion and of Ready-to-Wear Couturiers and Fashion Designers (Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture).
3. In his early work, Laurent learned most of what he knew from Christian Dior, who gave Laurent an audience and a platform from which he excelled.
4. At 21, Laurent was appointed as the youngest ever Creative Director at Dior. It wasn’t long before he was fired.
5. Laurent struggled with an alcohol and drug addiction.
6. In his early twenties he also endured shock therapy and heavy sedation as a method of treating a mental illness condition.
7. He was one of the founding designers to create tuxedos for women in 1966.
8. In 2007, one year before he died, he was awarded the prestigious rank of Grand Officier de la Légion d’honneur by French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
9. Over his lifetime, Yves Saint Laurent collected an incredible art collection which included Picasso originals, and Egyptian sculptures. 733 pieces in total were sold at auction in 2009, with all proceeds going towards research for AIDS.
10.Two new museums dedicated to the designer are due to open in 2017. One will open in Paris, and the other in Marrakesh – a personal favourite hot-spot of Laurent.
While creative directors have experimented with style and form over the past few decades, the leather-studded soul of the brand has fundamentally remained true to Laurents rebel spirit. Take a look at our gallery to see some of our favourite YSL looks over the years.