Mini-bio: Yves Saint Laurent
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Mini-bio: Yves Saint Laurent

Yves Saint Laurent (08/01/1936 – 06/01/2008) was a prominent and influential French fashion designer. He was born in 1936 in Algeria. The interest in design first resulted in paper dolls then in dress designs for his mother and sisters.

In 1953 he took part in a contest for young designers and won the first place. He was invited to Paris where he was suggested that he should try himself as a fashion designer. Saint Laurent attended a course at the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture. His sketches couldn’t remain unnoticed for long. He entered the same competition again and won. Soon he was hired by Dior. Several seasons later, he was submitting his works for the couture collection. His designs were gaining popularity and by the age of 21 he was the head designer. His spring 1958 collection, including the famous collection of cocktail dresses also know as “trapeze dress” was a particular success.

However, there were some less successful seasons and designs as well, especially in 1960. That year was full of disappointments for Yves Saint Laurent that involved a brief military service, getting fired by Dior, some harsh time at a hospital and lots of stress.

When things got better, he and his partner Pierre Bergé established their own fashion house – Yves Saint Laurent YSL. Many of Saint Laurent’s collections were very well received, including the classic tuxedo suit for women. There were controversial works too. He was one of the first couturiers to offer a full ready-to-wear line. It remained popular until late 1980s.

For about twenty years Yves Saint Laurent and his work were at the top of the fashion world. He was pioneering, inventing, intriguing, influencing, inspiring. Saint Laurent was also the first living fashion designer to have a solo exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Eventually, his work pace started slowing down, to some extent owing to his bad habits. Yves Saint Laurent retired in 2002 soon to become a recluse. He died in 2008 of brain cancer.