A decade ago, an icon passed away two months short of his 70th birthday. He left behind a legacy so indelible, the world knows — oft-times wears — his name in an unmistakable three-letter acronym. His name is behind one of fashion’s most seminal and lucrative maisons. It is embedded to the title of museums dedicated to archive his life-long work, years after his passing. This immortal moniker is none other than Yves Saint Laurent.
More than just a designer, Monsieur Laurent was responsible for informing the way women dress up to this day. His timeless vision still lingers. This sartorial clairvoyance buoyed him as, arguably, the greatest godfather of modern fashion.
Sure, there may have been, and indeed there are still, design greats of creative ingeniosity — Cristóbal Balenciaga, Christian Dior and Rei Kawakubo among them — but there isn’t a day in the life of any woman reaching into her wardrobe that hasn’t been influenced by Yves Saint Laurent. There’s no familiar clothing piece he hasn’t pioneered: The black leather biker jacket, the skinny black sweater, the sheer chiffon shirt, fine art-inspired fashion and, of course, the Le Smoking-spurred tuxedo suit — all came to be courtesy of the trailblazer.
In celebration of what would have been his 80th birthday on 1 August, we take a closer look at how the YSL archives have shaped fashion into what it is today. Below, five prescient reasons why the work of Yves Saint Laurent is more relevant than ever.
(Main image: Pierre Olivier Deschamps; featured image: Getty)