Author(s): Natasha Fraser-Cavassoni
A tortured genius and one of most influential designers of the twentieth century,Yves Saint Laurent was responsible for revolutionising the way women dressedand viewed themselves. During a wildly creative career stretching from 1958 to2002 Saint Laurent established a reputation for accessible, flawlessly cut clothes.He became an overnight sensation in 1958, aged 21, when he showed his 'Trapeze'collection, his first for the House of Christian Dior, following the master's death.Four years later, Saint Laurent opened his own couture house and within a fewseasons was hailed by Vogue's Diana Vreeland as 'the pied piper of fashion'.Viewed as a master colourist and admired for his choice of sultry fabrics,his great gift was creating lasting styles - described by Vogue as 'stockpiles ofessentials in times of famine' - that flattered all shapes and sizes. As well asdesigning wardrobe classics like the 'Le Smoking' tuxedo for women, the Safarijacket, the trench and the pea coat, and introducing trousers into haute couture,he also dressed international style icons such as Catherine Deneuve, MarellaAgnelli and Lauren Bacall.
With his nose for the zeitgeist, Saint Laurent recognisedthe global power of street fashion and launched Rive Gauche, his ready-to-wearboutique line in 1966. Christened 'The Saint' by Vogue, every element of his fashionempire, which included exhilarating couture collections, exquisite accessories andsought-after perfumes, was captured by Vogue's writers and leading photographerslike Richard Avedon, David Bailey and Norman Parkinson.
Natasha Fraser-Cavassoni is a Paris-based British writer and journalist. After writinga column for Andy Warhol's Interview magazine in New York, she left for Paris in1989, where she assisted Karl Lagerfeld in the Chanel Studio. From 1991-1999 shewas at Women's Wear Daily and W magazine and was European Editor of AmericanHarper's Bazaar until 2004. Fraser-Cavassoni is the author of Monsieur Dior - OnceUpon a Time, Sam Spiegel: The Biography of A Hollywood Legend, Tino Zervudachi:a Portfolio, Chanel and Loulou de la Falaise.