In Memoriam: YSL

“Fashions fade; style is eternal.”

—Yves Saint Laurent


Yves Saint Laurent (detail)

Photo by André Rau, Fondation Pierre Bergé – Yves Saint Laurent

Photo via


On Sunday, June 1, a titan of fashion, Yves Saint Laurent, 71, passed away in his apartment in Paris.


A protégé who overtook the House of Dior in 1958 at age 21, Saint Laurent leaves a legacy of so many things…jackets, jackets, jackets (as in safari, tuxedo, le smoking), peacoats, trapeze dresses, the Mondrian shift of 1965, and say it with me ladies, pants! What women in the workplace now take for granted was revolutionary in 1968, thanks to Yves.

“Mondrian” day dress, autumn 1965
Yves Saint Laurent (French, born Algeria, 1936)
Wool jersey in color blocks of white, red, blue, black, and yellow
Gift of Mrs. William Rand, 1969 (C.I.69.23)
Photo via


We also owe a debt to Saint Laurent’s yoking fashion with high art, drawing from youth and street culture, having celebrity and socialite muses (Catherine Deneuve, Betty Catroux), and transforming haute couture into ready-to-wear. And then there’s that iconic logo, one of the great fashion monograms, YSL.

Since 1962, when the first YSL collection was shown, the house has counted fashion jewelry among its licensed products. To see current jewelry selections from YSL (bought by the Gucci Group in 2000), click here.


When I think of Saint Laurent’s design, what impresses is the intellectual thought behind it, and that in all of his progressive ideas, we find also the past, and in that union, timelessness.


Here at JCK, we see vestiges of his legacy: Our talented art director, Todd Gast, conceived of a Mondrian-inspired layout to present our product showcases, which can be seen in JCK magazine.


For more inspiration on Yves, read the tributes in The New York Times and the International Herald Tribune, and celebrate YSL, the man, the design, and the exaltation of an art form.

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