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Yves Saint Laurent is that most classic and revered of design institutions: a Paris fashion house, but it is built on the work of one of the greatest and yet rebellious couturiers France has ever seen. The Open for Vintage Yves Saint Laurent collection celebrates this unique pioneer with pieces marking the history of his career.

Yves Henri Donat Mathieu-Saint-Laurent was born in 1936 in Oran in Algeria and spent a childhood creating paper dolls and designs for his mother and sisters. 1953 his sketches won first place in a competition for young designers and the awards ceremony brought him to Paris and to the attention of Michel de Brunhoff, the then editor-in-chief of French Vogue magazine. Brunhoff encouraged the 17 year old Saint Laurent to apply to study at the Paris based Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture. It was after completing this course and again winning the young designers competition again that Brunhoff saw more sketches from the budding designer. In these sketches Brunhoff recognised the talent and, more significantly, a symbiosis with the work of Christian Dior which he had seen that very morning. One introduction later and Saint Laurent entered the House of Dior. Gradually Dior allowed Saint Laurent to design for the couture collections. He said of Dior:

‘I couldn't speak in front of him. He taught me the basis of my art. Whatever was to happen next, I never forgot the years I spent at by his side.’

Dior seems to have been equally enamoured with his protégé, naming him as his successor in 1957 before his sudden death. At the age of 21 therefore, Saint Laurent found himself the head of the most revered and respected fashion house in Paris. He did not disappoint with his first collection, the ‘Ligne Trapéze’ a resounding success. However, it was after leaving Dior with a stint in National Service that, with his own label: Yves Saint Laurent YSL, made his true mark.

During his almost 50 year career, Yves Saint Laurent changed not only how women wear clothes, but also, how they buy them. The 1960s was a time when the youth rose and cultures and tastes opposed, blended and created a freedom in style and taste never previously encountered. A young designer, Saint Laurent was not only connected to but was an integral part of youth taste and interests. Unlike the grand couture houses, he was free to draw on his great loves for his designs during the 1960s and 1970s. Most famously, he looked to Pop Art, Op Art, Piet Mondrian, Picasso and non-European cultures such as Africa and China to inspire his collections. Most celebrated and influential were the ‘Mondrian’ dresses from his Winter 1965 which spawned a huge following in the mass market with its block colour and simple shape. It was during the 1960’s that he became the first couture house to create an entire pret-a-porter collection in 1966 which made his clothes accessible to many for the first time. It is often these Rive Gauche collections which are now prized as much as his haute couture work.

Yves Saint Laurent not only understood culture but also how women wanted to look and feel in their clothes. In the 1966 he created the iconic ‘Le Smoking’ trouser suit. It is still revered as a turning point in women’s fashion and was hugely influential on the sleek aesthetic of the 1970s to follow and contrasted perfectly with the femininity of his sheer dresses and blouses of the late 1960s. It also anticipated his infamous ‘Liberation’ collection of 1971 which looked back to the 1940's style of war time collaborators and drew heavily on the structured shapes and shoulder of this decade. Though reviled by critics at the time it is now widely applauded and seen as an anticipation of the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s inspired 1970’s style. Through the 1970s, Yves Saint Laurent continued to produce Rive Gauche collections of rich colour, opulent embellishment and ruthless tailoring. His Russian inspired collection of 1976 was admired at the time with capes, short frogged jackets and full peasant skirts. Today, we can see his vision through the Yves Saint Laurent vintage womenswear and accessories pieces in the Open for Vintage Collection. With everything from vintage Rive Gauche dresses and ensembles to vintage YSL bags, vintage YSL sunglasses, vintage YSL belts, you can find your piece from the legacy, small or great.

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Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche Vintage Dress Brown Velvet Skirt Jacket

Style Keyword : Womens Jackets & Blazers Label 1 : Womens Fashion > Womens Jackets & Blazers,Womens Fashion > Yves Saint Laurent Womens Fashion Product Type - Clothing : Jackets & Blazers Gender : Female Mens/Womens : Womens specification : Brown, , Excellent Size : Small
£420.00

Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche Suit Skirt Double Breasted Pinstripe Wool Vintage Brown

Style Keyword : Womens Skirts > Womens Skirts Label 1 : Womens Fashion > Womens Skirts ,Womens Fashion > Womens Skirts,Womens Fashion > Yves Saint Laurent Womens Fashion Product Type - Clothing : Skirts Gender : Female Mens/Womens : Womens specification : Brown, , Excellent Size : Small
£480.00

Yves Saint Laurent Sac de Jour Handbag

Style Keyword : Top Handle Bags Label 1 : Vintage Handbags > Top Handle Bags,Vintage Handbags > Yves Saint Laurent Handbags Material : Leather Gender : Female Mens/Womens : Womens Product Type - Bags : Top Handle Bags specification : Grey, Leather, Excellent Size : M
£1,380.00

Yves Saint Laurent Sac de Jour Handbag

Style Keyword : Top Handle Bags Label 1 : Vintage Handbags > Top Handle Bags,Vintage Handbags > Yves Saint Laurent Handbags Material : Leather Gender : Female Mens/Womens : Womens Product Type - Bags : Top Handle Bags specification : Red, Leather, Excellent Size : M
£1,380.00

MINT. Vintage Yves Saint Laurent golden chain long statement necklace with extra large faux pearl and flower petal pendant top. Opal shine

Style Keyword : Necklaces Label 1 : Jewellery > Necklaces,Jewellery > Yves Saint Laurent Jewellery Gender : Female Mens/Womens : Womens specification : Gold, ,
£270.00

Saint Laurent Sneakers Black Low Top Moon Plus Graffiti Logo Ysl 42 Us 9 New

Style Keyword : Womens Shoes > Pumps Label 1 : Womens Accessories > Womens Shoes > Pumps,Womens Accessories > Yves Saint Laurent Accessories Product Type - Accessories : Shoes Material : Leather Gender : Female Mens/Womens : Womens specification : Black, Leather, Size : US 9 - 42
£290.00

Vintage Yves Saint Laurent Couture Red Heart Necklace

Style Keyword : Necklaces Fabric : Lace Label 1 : Jewellery > Necklaces,Jewellery > Yves Saint Laurent Jewellery Style : Couture Condition : Good Gender : Female Mens/Womens : Womens Product Type - Jewellery : Necklaces specification : Red, , Good Decade : 1980-1989
£1,560.16

Yves Saint Laurent Gold-Plated Ribbed Dangling Earrings - 1980's

Style Keyword : Earrings Fabric : Metal Label 1 : Jewellery > Earrings,Jewellery > Yves Saint Laurent Jewellery Gender : Female Mens/Womens : Womens Product Type - Jewellery : Earrings specification : Gold, Gold, Excellent Size : 6.5cm x 2.6cm / 2.55'' x 1'' (approximately)
£350.00

Yves Saint Laurent Piping Design Logo Embossed Trunk Case Black/Brown

Style Keyword : Suitcases & Luggage ,Label 1 : Vintage Handbags > Suitcases & Luggage,Vintage Handbags > Yves Saint Laurent Handbags ,Colour : Black ,Gender : Female ,Mens/Womens : Womens ,Product Type - Bags : Suitcases & Luggage ,specification : Black, , ,Size : L ,
£625.00

YSL 1980s Vintage Gold Plated Cuff Bracelet Yves Saint Laurent

Style Keyword : Bracelets Label 1 : Jewellery > Bracelets,Jewellery > Yves Saint Laurent Jewellery Length (inches) : 7 Gender : Female Width (inches) : 1.5 Mens/Womens : Womens Product Type - Jewellery : Bracelets specification : Gold, , Good
£250.00

YSL Limited Edition Gold Necklace

Style Keyword : Necklaces Label 1 : Jewellery > Necklaces,Jewellery > Yves Saint Laurent Jewellery Gender : Female Mens/Womens : Womens specification : Gold, ,
£425.00

YSL Natural Stone Earrings

Style Keyword : Earrings Label 1 : Jewellery > Earrings,Jewellery > Yves Saint Laurent Jewellery Gender : Female Mens/Womens : Womens specification : Grey, ,
£300.00

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