Born in Algeria in 1936, Yves Saint Laurent's father wanted his son to be a lawyer, but a passion for fashion design (inspired by his mother and the images he saw in his sister's Vogue magazines) led a 17-year-old Yves to enter a competition sponsored by the International Wool Secretariat to design a cocktail dress. He won, and which immediately drew the attention of legendary designer Christian Dior, who hired the teenager on the spot. When Dior died suddenly in 1957, Yves was chosen as his successor, aged just 21.
His first collection for the house of Dior, entitled Ligne Trapeze, was a critical success and won him a Neiman Marcus Oscar. He continued to wow with collections for Dior until 1960, when he briefly fulfilled his duties in the army, and then went on to set up his own eponymous label, Yves Saint Laurent, with business partner and life-long confident Pierre Berge in 1962.
Saint Laurent's vision was to democratise fashion, bringing beautiful clothes to every woman, spearheading the concept of ready-to-wear collections and also liberating women from the confines of formal dressing and the high price of couture.
It was under the Yves Saint Laurent label that he produced some of his most iconic designs, and some of the world's most ground-breaking fashion. Perhaps most famous for his Le Smoking - the first tuxedo for women which made it's catwalk debut in 1966, Saint Laurent was also the first designer to introduce safari jackets in 1966 for women (neatly cut to skim the silhouette and never meant to go anywhere near a jungle) sheer blouses and transparent fabrics in 1968 (now a fixture in catwalk collections almo More