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In this series of blog posts, Circa Vintage takes a deep dive into the history of some of our favourite fashion designers. Today, it's the turn of fashion industry revolutionary, Yves Saint Laurent.

Yves Saint Laurent was one of the 20th century’s most influential European fashion designers. Born in Algeria, he moved to Paris to work for designer Christian Dior and, in 1962, launched his own fashion label.

For Fall 1966, Laurent introduced “Le smoking”, his legendary smoking suit which adapted classic menswear codes to the feminine body. Other pieces have gone on to become iconic designs in fashion history, such as the reefer jacket in 1962, the sheer blouse in 1966, and the jumpsuit in 1968. With the arrival of the Rive Gauche line in 1966, the brand was one of the first to introduce ready-to-wear. In 1971, Bianca Jagger wore a Smoking jacket for her wedding to Mick Jagger.


An innovator who blurred the line between fashion and art, Yves Saint Laurent was constantly inspired by the artists he adored. He often appropriated details directly - he showed a dress in homage to Piet Mondrian in his Fall 1965 collection, the Homage to Pablo Picasso jacket was shown during Fall 1979 and his 1988 collection reimagined Van Gogh's most famous paintings in technicolour sequins. The relationship with the art world was reciprocal and Laurent went on to inspire Andy Warhol, who created his Portraits of Yves Saint Laurent in 1972.


Laurent died in 2008. His legacy is the fashion house he founded and the pieces designed by his hand that are collected by museums the world over. “My weapon is the way I look at my times and the art of my times,” he said, and today he inspires new generations of fashion students.



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