Monday, 2 April 2012

Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche

Yves Saint Laurent was the first to popularise ready-to-wear with Rive Gauche in 1966, a fashion line aimed at professional women who didn't have the financial means to dress in haute couture.

Book cover: Betty Catroux, Yves Saint Laurent and Loulou de la Falaise
(opening of the first boutique Saint Laurent Rive Gauche in New Bond St, 10 Sep 1969)
©Wesley/Keystone/Getty Images

You can now realise the extent of the cultural impact of his progressive approach to fashion in Saint Laurent Rive Gauche, a book published in the UK this month, highlighting its influence on women during the 60s and 70s. 

With three insightful essays and an incredible array of visual material the book celebrates the legacy of Rive Gauche, one of the most significant fashion lines of the past 50 years.

Saint Laurent Rive Gauche, circa 1970
(Photo: Sophie Carre)

Yves Saint Laurent could design an entire collection in just three days and was incredibly meticulous about samples, rejecting those which did not reproduce perfectly his drawings.

"It takes years to find one's style: a style is eternal while fashion is ephemeral and futile." Yves Saint Laurent

His style was indeed timeless and a lot has been written about his muse and close friend Betty Catroux, the woman who inspired him to create his iconic trouser suit in 1967.

Saint Laurent Rive Gauche, circa 1970
(Photo: Sophie Carre)

Since launching his own couture house with Pierre Bérgé in 1961, Yves Saint Laurent has been one of the greatest names in fashion and despite his death in June 2008, his memorable style lives on and continues to inspire many designers.

The couture house has just appointed a new creative director, Hedi Slimane, renowned for his influential designs for Christian Dior menswear. Bergé has supported Slimane calling the French-born designer "a man of talent who can preserve the genius and legacy of Yves Saint Laurent."

Saint Laurent Rive Gauche, circa 1970
(Photo: Sophie Carre)

With such a vote of confidence, we are all looking forward to seeing what Slimane will do but we need to wait until next season's catwalk shows. One thing is certain, there is a high level of expectation!

Saint Laurent Rive Gauche: Fashion Revolution
by Pierre Bergé and Jéromine Savignon
(Abrams Books, £19.99)

Other related blog posts:
Yves Saint Laurent: Life, Love and Art
Cape Fashion
Defying Photography