Yves Saint-Laurent Biography: What You Didn’t Know About the Designer

Yves Saint Laurent is one of the greatest fashion designers of our time.

You can find his handbags, shoes, and other clothing items in department stores all over the world.

But, who is the man behind all of these designs?

Check out this Yves-Saint Laurent biography to learn more about this iconic fashion designer.


Yves Saint Laurent was born into a well-off family in Algeria in 1936.

Unfortunately, due to his small size, timid personality, and his sexual orientation, Yves was teased relentlessly by classmates. Therefore, he retreated into himself and into the world of fashion.

Yves created an extremely detailed fashion house that was made completely from paper. He cut out models from his mother’s fashion magazines and he dressed them with his own designs for clothes.

He even gave imaginary names to his models, Suzy Parker and Bettina Brazziani. He also had imaginary suppliers, hairstylists, and makeup artists. Then, he had his two sisters play his clients.

Needless to say, Yves found his passion early on.

Getting His Foot in the Door

Throughout his teen years, Yves was able to gain more practical experience as a fashion designer by working as a costume designer for theater companies.

While he did enjoy this, he knew his real passion lay in designing fashion.

Yves was able to get his foot in the door in the high-fashion world in 1955 when Christian Dior took him on as his assistant. Yves quickly made his mark here, and it came as no surprise that when Christian Dior died in 1955, Yves took over the house.

However, many began to critique his work at this time, as others didn’t agree with his take on women’s fashion. Unfortunately, Yves suffered from a mental breakdown from all the stress.

However, Yves’ lover (a relationship that lasted until Yves’ death) lovingly stepped in to take over the business side of things and reestablish Yves’ name.

Through hard work and networking, the YSL logo was soon born.

Going His Own Way

Now that he had his own fashion label officially set up, Yves was finally able to fully unleash his creative designs to the world.

What helped set Yves apart in his early years was his fearlessness when it came to designing clothes that blurred the lines between men’s and women’s fashion. He pioneered the power suit and transformed the safari jacket from functional to fashion-focused. And, of course, he created some iconic handbags (you can find them on SSENSE).

Through the next several decades, Yves’s designs sat atop the fashion world

Later Years

By the 1980s, Yves had established himself as a true fashion icon. He was the very first designer to have his work on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

Unfortunately, Yves struggled a great deal with addiction and mental illness in his private life, and he became reclusive.

Luckily, Yves was able to find firmer footing in the 1990s, and his fashion was able to experience somewhat of a rebirth.

At the end of the decade, he and Pierre (his lifelong partner) sold the company, and Yves did his final fashion show in 2002. They retired in Marrackech, and in 2007, Yves was bestowed with the honor of being appointed as Grand Officer of the Legion d’honnerur by the French president.

Yves passed away on June 1, 2008.

Yves Saint Laurent Biography: Wrap Up

After reading this Yves Saint-Laurent biography, you can see that he led a fascinating and creative life.

Be sure to check back in with our blog for more interesting stories just like this one!

Written by CelebMix