Yves Saint Laurent (designer)

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Yves Henri Donat Mathieu-Saint-Laurent, known as Yves Saint Laurent (French pronunciation: [iv sɛ̃ loʁɑ̃]; 1 August 1936 – 1 June 2008),[1] was a French fashion designer, one of the greatest names in French fashion in the 20th century.[2] In 1985, Caroline Rennolds Milbank wrote, "The most consistently celebrated and influential designer of the past twenty-five years, Yves Saint Laurent can be credited with both spurring the couture's rise from its sixties ashes and with finally rendering ready-to-wear reputable". He is also credited with having introduced the tuxedo suit for women, being the first designer to use ethnic models in his runway shows, and referencing other cultures in his work.[3]

Contents

Early life and education

Yves Saint Laurent was born in Oran, French Algeria. He left for Paris after secondary school to pursue a fashion career and at 17 was hired as Christian Dior's assistant. When Dior died four years later, he was named head of the House of Dior. In 1962, he opened his own fashion house and quickly emerged as one of the world's most influential designers.

Career

Young designer

In 1953, Saint Laurent submitted three sketches to a contest for young fashion designers, organized by the International Wool Secretariat. He won third place and was invited to attend the awards ceremony in Paris, in December of that year. While he and his mother were in Paris, they met Michel de Brunhoff, editor-in-chief of the Paris edition of Vogue magazine. de Brunhoff, a kindly man who enjoyed encouraging new talent, was impressed by the sketches Saint Laurent brought with him and suggested he become a fashion designer. He eventually consider a course of study at the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, the council which regulated the haute couture industry and provided training to its employees. Saint Laurent followed his advice and, leaving Oran for Paris after graduation, began his studies at the Chambre Syndicalede la Haute Couture, where he graduated as the star pupil. Later that same year, Saint Laurent entered the International Wool Secretariat competition again and won, beating out his friend Fernando Sanchez and a young German student named Karl Lagerfeld.[4] Shortly after his win, he brought a number of sketches to de Brunhoff who recognized in them close similarities to sketches he had been shown that morning by Christian Dior. Knowing that Dior had created the sketches that morning and that the young man could not have seen them, de Brunhoff sent him to Dior, who hired him on the spot.

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