Sunday, October 24, 2010

Yves Saint Laurent - Georgia Wyrill

The ladies man who made the prettiest boys of girls!

Saint Laurent is famous for his creation ‘Le Smoking’ (1966), the women’s version of a tuxedo, which became an alternative to the over effeminate evening gown that dominated in the sixties, followed by the safari jacket, the brass-buttoned pea coat, flying suits and the shirt-dress; all traditionally male pieces that he pioneered to become many of the chic classics of postwar women’s style.
(Berge, P & Bacon, J 2008, Yves Saint Laurent: Style, Abrams, New York, USA.)

In 1975, Helmut Newton’s famous photograph (below) was published in Vogue and immortalized the power of attraction and sexuality at the limits of androgyny in the Yves Saint Laurent tuxedo, now one of the most famous and respected creations by the designer.
“Yves Saint Laurent invented the foundations of the modern wardrobe, which remains the foundations of modern fashion... He offered a basis for the wardrobe of a woman of action, reproducing all the advantages of a male business suit: the comfort and security of a well-made garment and the modern armor with which to face the world with confidence.” (Polan & Tredre, 2009, The Great Fashion designers, 118).


Yves Saint Laurent said the reasoning behind his use of masculinity was because “I noticed men were much more comfortable than women in their clothes and I tried to give them this confidence” (In Search of Yves Saint Laurent, SBS, 2007). 
It is important to note that Saint-Laurent did not simply copy masculine looks but took inspiration from them and paired designs with highly feminine details such as silk muslin blouses and bow neck-ties. 

(Berge, P & Bacon, J 2008, Yves Saint Laurent: Style, Abrams, New York, USA.)

It is said that he was like Chanel in this way, responding to the subtleties of masculine tailoring seeking to provide a similar sort of style for women and she agreed calling him her “only inheritor” at the time of her retirement.

(Berge, P & Bacon, J 2008, Yves Saint Laurent: Style, Abrams, New York, USA.)

To me, Saint Laurent was the perfect designer, using a mix of humour, simple lines, carefully selected colour and pure classicism in all he created. 
The smoking jacket or tuxedo he made for women has been a main source of inspiration for the tailored jacket I am in the process of making this semester. 
He will always be one of my favourite designers and I think what he did for the female wardrobe in the form of tailored garments was an enormous feat that has not been topped since.

No comments:

Post a Comment