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All About Yves) Bon Temps, Saint Laurent

Hello all my Fashionable Friends!  Today I bring you installment #2 in honor of Yves Saint Laurent: The Retrospective at the Denver Art Museum.   In my last post, Saint Laurent had just completed what would be his last collection for Dior.  Struggling with depression, he was unceremoniously fired from Dior in 1960. Upon hearing from his partner Pierre Bergé that he had been let go, Saint Laurent famously replied “Then we’ll start a fashion house ourselves, and you’ll run it.”  Thus was born the house that Yves (and Monsieur Bergé) built.

The pressure to have another fashion coup, as you can imagine, was intense.  Saint Laurent had been a star at Dior, and both well-wishers and naysayers were practically foaming at the mouth to see whether Saint Laurent could pull it off.  And pull it off he did! Influenced by uniforms and utilitarian clothing such as jumpsuits, Saint Laurent glorified and showed us the beauty of garments such as humble tunics and Pea Coats.

Now you must keep in mind that while trousers and pea coats on women are not eyebrow-raising today, in the early 1960’s women simply did not dress like that.  If you recall from my last post, the nipped-waist silhouette had been popular not loose and comfortable.

Fast-forward a few years to 1965 and one of the most iconic Saint Laurent dresses of all time… The Mondrian dress.

Even if you’ve been living in a cave, you probably have at least seen an  image of this dress.  Obviously heavily influenced by art, in this case painter Piet Mondrian (his Composition in Red Blue Yellow is below),  Saint Laurent made the body a living canvas.

The year 1965 continued to be playful and experimental for Saint Laurent as witnessed by his knit wool wedding dress, below.

While Saint Laurent loved to provoke, there is more than that going on here.  The man really loved playing with line and the body.  In other words, throughout his career, he would reveal and conceal a woman’s form and experiment with how one should and could dress a body in motion.

Another iconic fashion statement that we have Saint Laurent to thank for is the everyday use of the safari jacket.  Nowadays, of course, there are safari jackets, dresses and innumerable outfits, but Saint Laurent started the trend with this sexy tunic…

Please keep in mind that before this, safari-type clothing was for…well, safari!  As in upper-class Europeans and Americans going on safari to shoot large animals and take them home as trophies type-of safari.  No one wore this as everyday clothing at all until Saint Laurent had the bravado to make it so.

Speaking of his love of provocation, in 1971 Saint Laurent created a stir with his 1940’s inspired Spring-Summer line.  Nicknamed Le Scandal, it certainly was.  Why, you might ask?  Because in the later 60’s/early 70’s the atrocities of WWII were not that distant.  Understandably , many people  did not want to be reminded of the war and the line caused an outcry.  In addition to references from a difficult time, several of the Le Scandal dresses were unabashedly sexy, like the one below that is cut all the way down to the cleft of model’s buttocks.

Oh My!

Well darlings, I really must fly.  I hope you enjoyed this installment of All about Yves.  Stay tuned for more!


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