Monday, December 4, 1961: Yves Saint Laurent

From "International Directory of Company Histories":

Yves Mathieu-Saint-Laurent was born in the French Algerian port town of Oran in 1936. At the age of 18, Saint Laurent journeyed to Paris to begin a career as a fashion designer. Success was immediate: in November 1954 Saint Laurent was awarded his first prize, the Prix Robe (dress) in a competition held by the Secretariat. ...

Less than a year after his arrival in Paris, Saint Laurent entered the prestigious house of Christian Dior as Dior's assistant designer and designated heir-apparent. Saint Laurent debuted his first major design, an evening gown, in 1955. Two years later, at Dior's death, Saint Laurent assumed direction of the Christian Dior line. Saint Laurent's first full collection, dubbed Trapeze, debuted on January 30, 1958. The collection was a hit, elevating Saint Laurent to instant celebrity and earning the 21-year-old designer the prestigious Nieman Marcus Award for the Dior house. Three years later Saint Laurent set out to found his own fashion empire. Leaving Dior, Saint Laurent, joined by Pierre Berge, established his own maison de couture on the rue la Boetie in Paris in July 1961. The partners, assisted by several former Dior employees and backed financially by the American J. Mack Robinson, officially opened the House of Saint Laurent on the rue Spontini in December 1961, presenting the first true Yves Saint Laurent collection -- under the famed YSL logo designed by Cassandre -- one month later.

1961 photo of Yves Saint Laurent and dancer Zizi Jeanmaire by Getty Images.

* Biography from Fashion Model Directory: @
* Entry from "The Berg Companion to Fashion" (book by Valerie Steele): @
* Fashion show footage from 1962: @
* 1992 BBC documentary on Saint Laurent: @
* "The Genius of Yves Saint Laurent" (New York magazine, November 1983): @
* 2008 obituary from The Guardian newspaper: @
* Official website: @

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