Friday, August 28, 2015


Tzaims Luksus TZL Logo created (1963) 
inspired Yves Saint Laurent to create his own Y.S.L  Logo (c.1966)
similarly but slanted it.

I met Yves Saint Laurent at Le Coq D'Or in Paris during the summer of 1968.  He would have been about 32 and I would have been 36 years old.  We both were in the limelight of International Fashion and I had just shown my own couture collection in Paris that same February and had returned to Paris to work on silk prints at Bianchini-Ferier who had a location both in Paris and Lyon, France.  Although we didn't discuss my fabrics over dinner at Le Coq d'Or some of them were selected by him the next season.  Summer was his Autumn collection which he was showing the next day so what I was working on would be available for his Spring collection.
 I had followed his career when he first emerged at the House of Dior and read about him in the news when he left that fashion house to go into the French Army.  Later he emerged under his own name as Y.S.L.  I never planned to go into the fashion profession but at that time felt being a couturier was as enigmatic a profession as one could take up.  It was my success, first as a fabric artist and then as a couturier, that brought us together.  He began at Dior in 1952 when I was entering the U.S.Navy and left Dior in 1958 but didn't open his own couture house in Paris until 1962 the same year I became fashion news in NYC and then in 1965 I won the Coty and Neiman Marcus Awards.  There is a lot to consider in what Yves says in his documentary films made after his death from footage taken over the years.  (Teboul's: Yves Saint Laurent. His Life & Times and also Teboul's: Yves Saint Laurent. 5 Avenue Marceau, 75116, Paris) 

Much of what Yves says is egocentric and therefore his own opinion concerning other fashion designers, couturiers and fashion in general and although he felt he was the last couturier with his own style as Balenciaga and Chanel developed Yves style was not so well defined as he may have thought and much of what is said about his influence is exaggerated.  He was certainly pampered and well celebrated in his life by the French Government and the French Couture and perfume Syndicate.  His most notable statement in his early interviews is that America has no fashion sense and no great couturiers or fashion designers but that is generally a French attitude not taken seriously by most of the world and during the 1960s New York and California fashion designers were the head of fashion in the world and Yves was copying American clothes and life style as a hippy/beatnik as fast as he could to keep up with us.  

Yves collections were at most very eclectic and mixed in style to suit a large number, 200 models each season, of interests, store buyers, press and clients.  We all got excited when Fashion Week came along in Paris but looking behind the scenes at the atelier of Yves Saint Laurent it doesn't look any different then my own in New York and Paris.  I don't think Yves ever actually defined his style to one cut as did Chanel but this was to his advantage since Chanel is so dated even to this day under the knife of Karl Lagerfeld.  

Yves at least was more creative and versatile then Chanel.  A couturier has to be flexible in order to suit the people he is designing for and a couturier cannot afford to do one style and satisfy his clientele.  There is much that could be discussed concerning his comments which at times are contradictory with some information confusing and not very accurate.  One finds out that there isn't any real mystery in designing or constructing clothes. The real mystery is in the fabric designs and how the fabric dominates the design of the clothes.  That comes full front in Yves' documentary film.  It is a fine in depth look into his life and work.