Discover the history of the Parisian fashion house that changed the fashion system like no other...
Famed for its Le Smoking tuxedo and credited by some for the invention of ready-to-wear, the impact of Yves Saint Laurent and his namesake brand on the fashion industry can’t be overstated. But from those mid-century beginnings, the house has transformed vastly into the instantly recognisable fashion behemoth it is today, raising the profiles of many lesser-known designers with it. Here’s everything you need to know…
The ‘Liberacion’ collection, inspired by the 1940s, sparks criticism and scandal over claims it glamourises the Nazi occupation of France during World War II.
The Yves Saint Laurent couture house is relocated to 5 Avenue Marceau.
The house is sold to Sanofi, a subsidiary of Elf Aquitaine, for $650 million amid declining profits.
Alber Elbaz is employed to oversee ready-to-wear collections. Yves Saint Laurent stages a major show comprising 300 models at the Grand Stade de France during the World Cup.
Pilati is replace by Hedi Slimane, joining from Dior Homme, who immediately sets about transforming every aspect of the brand. He divides opinions by shortening the name to Saint Laurent and casting super-slim models in catwalk shows full of androgynous, rock-inspired looks and short metallic party dresses. As a result, Slimane receives heavy criticism in the media and responds by withdrawing to LA and refusing almost all interview requests.
Francesca Belletini is appointed CEO and president.
Saint Laurent cancels an order form Parisian boutique Colette, which has been stocking its clothing since 1998, over accusations from Saint Laurent that Colette was carrying counterfeit goods. The dispute centred over a range of T-shirts with the slogan ‘Ain’t Laurent without Yves’.
Saint Laurent rejoins the couture schedule on the back of numerous hugely profitable years for the brand.
To the surprise of many, Slimane’s contract is not renewed and his departure is announced in April. A public court battle ensues with Slimane alleging numerous grievances including underpayment for his last year of service, an issue around waiving his non-compete clause and ownership of Slimane's images in Saint Laurent's online archive. Slimane eventually emerged victorious with a $11.5 million settlement in 2018. Slimane is replaced by Versus Versace designer Anthony Vaccarello.
The Yves Saint Laurent Museum opens at 5 Avenue Marceau, supported by La Fondation Pierre Bergé. The museum is dedicated to preserving the sketches, textiles, accessories and garments that Saint Laurent created throughout his life.
Saint Laurent achieves more than €2 billion in sales for the first time.