Thursday, June 5, 2008

Yves: The Revolutionary

A nice article regarding the life of Yves Saint Laurent (who will be buried today):

Fashion, they say, is ephemeral. But in the case of Yves Saint Laurent, that adage holds little weight. During much of his 45-year career, Saint Laurent, who died in Paris on Sunday at the age of 71, held the style world in his thrall, wielding an influence that dominated the runways and exerts a fascination to this day.

A stylistic rebel with a paradoxically conservative streak, Saint Laurent arguably did more to advance fashion than any designer of his generation. His signal contribution to the world of style was to elevate the lowly and the outrĂ©, conferring an aristocratic insouciance on modes of dress — military peacoats, peasant blouses and raffia-bordered tribal skirts — once considered too gritty or exotic for conventional wear.

“He altered the consciousness of the way we dress,” said Lisa Koenigsberg, a culture historian.

But his legacy is not purely abstract. Marc Jacobs, Tom Ford, Miuccia Prada and Alber Elbaz of Lanvin are but a handful of the designers to have borrowed liberally, and sometimes literally, from Saint Laurent’s seemingly inexhaustible repertory.

“Designers have been copying Yves Saint Laurent for more than 20 years,” said Keni Valenti, a vintage fashion dealer in New York. As recently as this spring, he said, his downtown loft was a magnet for designers rifling his racks of vintage YSL. Many of them, absorbing the designer’s ideas down to the subtlest details, openly look to him for validation.

Read the remainder here.

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