Wow, did I get a reaction to yesterday's post. Sorry about that. But hey, don't shoot the reporter!! Yes, I did post a trend that stood out to me, but I must confess, I was one of those crazy little kids that would go snake hunting. The longer the garden the snake...the better. I have grown out of the phase of my life, thankfully, but I do love a pop snakeskin on my shoes, bags or belt. Look at it this way, at least you know this is a trend for spring, whether you like it or not.
So to try and redeem myself this morning, I thought I would share a little piece I wrote for the Haute Couture newsletter and share some fabulous pieces from the career of Yves St. Laurent. Enjoy, and hopefully you will forgive me for my snakey post!!
Yves St. Laurent
Marc Jacobs referred to him as God and Tom Ford and Jean Paul Gaultier called him their mentor. No designer has had a greater sense of aesthetic tradition, social history, or the power of style than Yves St. Laurent.
Yves St. Laurent's career began when he submitted three sketches to a contest organized by the International Wool Secretariat. He won first place. During the awards ceremony, he met Michel de Brunhoff, editor-in-chief of the French edition of Vogue magazine who first suggested that he become a fashion designer. St. Laurent went on to study at the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, the council that regulates the haute couture industry. After graduating, he once again entered the International Wool Secretariat competition and won, beating out Fernando Sanchez and Karl Lagerfeld. Once again, after seeing St. Laurent's sketches, Michel de Brunhoff played a very important role by recommending St. Laurent to Christian Dior. After only a few years at the House of Dior, Christian Dior died of a heartattack and St. Laurent became the youngest head designer of a couture house.
St. Laurent was a designer of many firsts. He was the first designer to design a ready to wear line, the first to use ethnic models in his runway shows, the first to reference other cultures in his work and the first to ultimately be honored by the Metropolitan Museum of Art with a solo exhibition.
Since his design debut at the age of twenty-one, when he launched the "trapeze" look, Yves St. Laurent has been hailed as a designer of genius, not only in creating clothing of remarkable originality and influence, but also in transcending the ephemeral world of fashion to establish an international style of lasting significance. Influenced greatly by the aesthetic of Gabrielle Chanel, St. Laurent grew more and more wary of fashion, and more and more engrossed by style.
My first introduction to the impeccable quality, style and fit of his garments was when I was seventeen years old and working at a small boutique called Betty's of Winnetka. We received a shipment of skirts and cashmere sweaters. Little by little, the garments were marked down and finally, combined with my employ discount I was able to afford a beautiful wool gabardine wrap skirt and creamy cashmere sweater. For years they were my go to garments when I needed to impress. They helped me land jobs by giving me the confidence I needed and allowed me the grace of not having to worry about whether my clothes were appropriate. When the pieces finally wore out, it was like parting with very dear friends.
"Haute couture has its multitudes of whispered secrets that a small number of people are still able to pass on. It pleases me that I, because of luck and instinct, am one of the last to hold the secrets of haute couture." Yves St. Laurent