Happy Birthday, Yves Saint Laurent!

mondrian1965
lesmoking1967
safarijacket1968
biancajagger171
greenfur1971
russiancollection1976
pinkbow1983
georgesbraquedoveweddingdress1988
feathercoat1990
rosebikini1999
mondrian1965 lesmoking1967 safarijacket1968 biancajagger171 greenfur1971 russiancollection1976 pinkbow1983 georgesbraquedoveweddingdress1988 feathercoat1990 rosebikini1999
By Lauren Kaplan August 01, 2014
Saint Laurent designed this cocktail dress in 1965 as a tribute to Piet Mondrian. Needless to say, it has been replicated time and time again.
He truly changed women's fashion (and shook things up a little) when he debuted le smoking, a tuxedo suit, in 1967. The black-tie menswear suit was reinterpreted for the female form, and something that Saint Laurent always came back to. This particular photograph of the look was taken by Helmut Newton in 1975 for Vogue.
In 1968, Saint Laurent put his spin on the safari jacket, and made it a staple for women's attire.
Style icon Bianca Jagger wore an unforgettably white YSL suit when she married Mick Jagger in 1971.
The designer created a controversial green fox fur coat, which was modeled by Willy Van Rooy and photographed by Hans Feurer.
Saint Laurent's Russian collection of 1976 reinforced his knack at turning ethnic costume into wearable women's fashion.
This simple velvet sheath dress was part of Saint Laurent's Fall/Winter 1983 Paris couture collection. The pink satin bow makes it a standout piece.
Carla Bruni posed in Saint Laurent's dove wedding dress from 1988.
He made quite the statement on the 1990 Fall/Winter runway with this tiger-print multicolor feather coat.
One of YSL's muses, Laetitia Casta modeled a flowery wedding gown in the 1999 spring haute couture show.
The word "icon" gets thrown around quite a bit in the fashion industry, but today is a day that we can use it in the most truthful way we know how: to describe Yves Saint Laurent. The late designer (who is the subject of not one, but two upcoming biopics) was always thinking ahead of the times and truly pushed the envelope when it came to women's clothes. There was nothing to scandalous, too masculine or too revealing for Saint Laurent to put on the runway or lend to a magazine for a photo shoot. In fact, any time he did, the fashion industry rejoiced. Perhaps he said it best himself: "Chanel freed women; I empowered them." And for that, we thank him by continuing to sport menswear-inspired suits, fresh takes on the safari jacket and gowns that are serious, but not too serious. His fast-paced, partying lifestyle informed his revolutionary designs, allowing women to take risks in the way they dressed and challenging fashion's long-standing conventions. Though he struggled with drug addiction and depression, he changed the face of women's fashion by making it okay—attractive, even—to be unconventional, both in dress and in attitude. And that's the mark of a true icon.
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