We are searching data for your request:
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.
As the designer for Christian Dior and then for his own label, Yves Saint Laurent left an enduring mark on the fashion world. In an interview, he describes the look he strives for in women's clothing.
Yves Saint Laurent and the evolution of gender-fluid fashion
These famous words by French fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent encapsulate his approach to fashion. Saint Laurent, universally understood as one of the most important designers of all time, undoubtedly shocked his contemporaries with his innovative, progressive designs.
Saint Laurent was one of the first major designers to play with gender roles. Over the course of his 40-year career, he revolutionized women’s fashion by incorporating masculine silhouettes and garments that were typically reserved for menswear.
Saint Laurent gained early recognition for his talent and began regular correspondence with Michel de Brunhoff, then editor-in-chief of Vogue Paris. De Brunhoff was so impressed with the young designer, he told his successor at the magazine, Edmonde Charles-Roux, “I have never in my life met anyone more gifted,” according to the Musée Yves Saint Laurent Paris.
De Brunhoff introduced Saint Laurent to Christian Dior, who hired him immediately. Saint Laurent had only worked at Dior for two years when Mr. Dior died in 1957. Per Dior’s wishes, 21-year-old Saint Laurent replaced him as the artistic director of the haute couture house.
It was then that Saint Laurent first began to push the boundaries of traditional women’s fashion. According to the Musée Yves Saint Laurent Paris, he defied the expectations of “1950s bourgeois elegance.” His last collection for Dior, “Souplesse, Légèreté, Vie,” (Flexibility, Light, Life) in 1960 featured dark colors, leather and turtlenecks. This earned him the reputation of being a provocative designer, and for the first time, his work was not unanimously well received.
In late 1960, Saint Laurent was drafted for military duty and subsequently hospitalized briefly for his mental health. It was then that the Dior fashion house fired him, prompting him to establish his own haute couture house.
Saint Laurent, alongside his professional and romantic partner Pierre Bergé, opened the doors of the Yves Saint Laurent Haute Couture House on December 4, 1961.
A few years after Saint Laurent began designing for his own house, he created one of his most iconic pieces: the tuxedo. Part of the Autumn-Winter 1966 collection, Saint Laurent’s tuxedo was the first of its kind to be seen on a woman. On the tuxedo, Saint Laurent said, “For a woman, the tuxedo is an indispensable garment in which she will always feel in style, for it is a stylish garment and not a fashionable garment. Fashions fade, style is eternal,” according to the Musée Yves Saint Laurent Paris.
The tuxedo was not the only traditionally masculine garment Saint Laurent included in his womenswear collections. Pieces like the pea coat, trench coat and safari jacket were all classically masculine garments until Saint Laurent put them on the female runway in the 1960s.
Most notably, however, was Saint Laurent’s feminization of the pantsuit in Spring 1967. Until then, women’s suits were worn with skirts. Similar to his design of the female tuxedo, Saint Laurent’s pantsuit design had the same shapes as a classic men’s suit, but they were carefully tailored and adapted to flatter a woman’s body. Saint Laurent styled his models with traditional neckties and felt hats, but kept the look feminine by adding jewelry and heels. The pantsuit became a fashion phenomenon.
“American women are going to want to burn all the clothes they have when they see this…Saint Laurent’s new Vastsuits in men’s wear fabrics are the sensation of the Paris season…What a show—it could have come right off Broadway,” read one review from a 1967 issue of Women’s Wear Daily.
June 2018 marked 10 years since Yves Saint Laurent’s death. But his impact on the fashion industry has never been more apparent than it is now. By today’s standards, women’s pantsuits and trench coats don’t seem like anything extraordinary, but at the time of their debut, Saint Laurent’s collections were groundbreaking. He was a trailblazer for challenging the status quo and sparking dialogue about gender roles in fashion.
Fashion is a reflection of the world around us. It is influenced by culture, politics and everything happening in our communities. Society has become more progressive since Saint Laurent’s time, and so has fashion. Today, the fashion industry continues to defy gender roles on the runway. Saint Laurent focused on liberating women from societal expectations of the time by mixing masculinity and femininity, but today’s designers take that even further.
As the world has become more accepting of the LGBTQ+ community, many designers aim to eliminate gender from their clothes altogether and focus on gender fluidity. Just as Saint Laurent liberated women with his clothes, designers now want to liberate people of all gender identities.
Some newer runway practices are as simple as having men and women walk in the same shows, while others make bigger statements, like male and female models wearing the same outfits down the runway, or including an all-trans cast of models in shows, as seen with Marco Marco this year at New York Fashion Week.
This generation’s top designers, like Jeremy Scott at Moschino, Raf Simons at Calvin Klein and Demna Gvasalia at Balenciaga, often blur the lines between masculinity and femininity in their collections.
The Moschino Resort 2019 collection shown in June had models walking the runway in carnival-inspired ensembles not meant for any specific gender identity — both women and men donned metallic rainbow pantsuits, animal-printed rompers and matching crop-top and trouser sets. Of the collection, Jeremy Scott said, “I see my role in fashion as bringing the fun,” according to Vogue Magazine. Scott’s designs emphasize that fashion can, and should, be fun for anyone who wants to wear them, regardless of identity.
Other designers, like Raf Simons, have a more minimalist approach to gender-bending fashion. The Calvin Klein Spring 2019 Ready-to-Wear collection presented unisex looks including oversized blazers paired with leather pants and crochet sweaters paired with no pants at all. Many of Simons’s designs represent a more androgynous version of fashion, with loose-fitting silhouettes that don’t cater to specific body types.
Balenciaga’s Fall 2019 Ready-to-Wear collection exhibited similarly minimalistic looks. Models both male and female sported boxy coats with pointed shoulder pads, high-collared shirts with jeans and oversized button-down shirts with matching pants. Like Simons’s collection, many of Demna Gvasalia’s Balenciaga designs are loosely fitted to make the clothes wearable for anybody.
As for the current designs at Saint Laurent, Anthony Vaccarello continues to adhere to the vision of the man who founded the fashion house he now leads. The Spring 2019 Ready-to-Wear collection featured variations of the classic Saint Laurent tuxedo and button-down shirts accessorized with neckties and hats. Vaccarello’s take on classic Saint Laurent pieces emphasizes a new era of sexual liberation for women, reminiscent of the 60s and 70s when Saint Laurent himself designed. The recent collection combined carefully tailored trousers with sheer shirts or open vests, and see-through flowing gowns. It perfectly embodied Saint Laurent’s love for dressing women in a way that allowed them to embrace their power and sex appeal while always remaining elegant.
Saint Laurent’s influence extends far beyond the realm of haute couture. Fast fashion retailers like H&M and Forever 21 adopt runway trends and make them more accessible to the general public. Since gender fluid trends have become more mainstream, people have been able to express themselves freely without feeling judged.
Jo Snow, 18, a UNC-Chapel Hill first-year from Wake Forest, North Carolina, is openly lesbian and said she uses fashion to present her sexuality.
“I’ve gotten more involved in fashion the past few years, and I’ve really enjoyed developing my style,” Snow said. Since fashion has become more progressive, “you can wear what you want and it doesn’t matter,” she said.
Snow, who prefers to dress more masculine than feminine, said the de-emphasis of gender roles in fashion has allowed her to feel more comfortable using her style as a form of self-expression.
“Since the fashion industry has become more open to LGBT and non-binary standards, I’ve been able to dress like that with less stigma,” she said.
When Saint Laurent began dressing women in men’s clothing, he began a movement. Since then, many more cultural revolutions have taken place. Fashion, along with society, is constantly evolving. What we see on runways is always a product of what we see happening in the world because fashion is a powerful form of self-expression. We live in an era where people of all identities can embrace who they are and use fashion to express themselves freely.
“I participated in the transformation of my era,” Saint Laurent said in 2002 when he retired, according to Forbes. “I did it with clothes, which is surely less important than music, architecture, painting … but whatever it’s worth, I did it.”
The History of Yves Saint Laurent
Yves Saint Laurent is one of the most celebrated fashion designers in history. His first designs were widely controversial, but his daring led to some of the most classic fashion styles today. His jewelry was as eclectic and eye-catching, complimenting his unconventional fashion designs. Keep reading to learn more about Yves Saint Laurent.
At the age of 17, Yves Saint Laurent moved to Paris to study fashion design and editor of French Vogue Michel De Brunhoff quickly took notice of the young designer. After noticing similarities in design, Brunhoff set up a meeting between Saint Laurent and Christian Dior. Dior then immediately hired Saint Laurent.
Hired at Dior in 1953, Saint Laurent began working on small tasks and designs, including decor and designing accessories. Over the years, Dior gave more opportunities to Saint Laurent and each season more of his sketches were included in the final collections. Upon Christian Dior’s death in 1957, Yves Saint Laurent found himself as Dior’s chief designer at the age of 21.
Christian Dior always featured detailed jewelry pieces created and designed specifically for the collection, something not entirely common with fashion designers of the time. This consideration for accessories was passed on to Saint Laurent after his departure from Dior. Saint Laurent’s first collection for Dior was widely accepted, but his later collections were not met with acclaim.
In 1960, during the Algerian War of Independence Saint Laurent was conscripted to serve in the French Army. During his absence, he was fired from Dior and subsequently opened his own eponymous design house in 1961, Yves Saint Laurent YSL. He’s often credited as the first designer to release a pret-a-porter, or ready-to-wear, line of clothing, and many popular designs and silhouettes.
YSL is known for designs like the trapeze dress and Le Smoking, a tailored tuxedo for women, as well as popularizing the safari/beatnik look. In the 1970s, YSL introduced its jewelry collections, including colorful and bold pieces. His runway pieces are also highly sought-after pieces and considered a bolder step above his ready-to-wear collections.
By the 1980s, The House of Yves Saint Laurent became one of the biggest forces in fashion. Saint Laurent was the first designer to be honored while living with a solo exhibition by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. In 2001, Saint Laurent was honored with the title of Commander of the Légion d’Honneur by the French president. He then retired in 2002.
How Yves Saint Laurent changed fashion
You might think it ain’t Laurent without Paris, but from tomorrow the most iconic garments of Yves Saint Laurent’s career will be on display in the grand surrounds of the Bowes Museum, County Durham. A collaboration between the Fondation Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint Laurent and the museum, the retrospective will be the first to honour the late designer on British soil. As Hedi Slimane’s youthquake continues to transform house codes, the exhibition comes as a timely reminder that the YSL girl has been shaking up institutional Paris ever since the designer’s first collections under his own label in the ’60s. Before the exhibition opens this weekend, here’s just five reasons why a dip into the YSL archives is more relevant than ever.
HIS TAKE ON ANDROGYNY STARTED A REVOLUTION
When Saint Laurent debuted Le Smoking in 1966 – a menswear-inspired tuxedo, tailored for women – it became an instant classic for women who wanted to appear equal parts glamorous and strong. Entering the cultural consciousness at a time when many second-wave feminists avoided discussing fashion directly, it radicalised eveningwear and irrevocably transformed the way women dressed. Made iconic by famous devotees like Nan Kempner, Betty Catroux and Bianca Jagger, the look told the world that if women are ever going to wear the trousers, they should be able to wear them to their wedding day and Studio 54 alike.
Bianca Jagger wears a double-brested white suit as she and her daughter Jade walk across the street in front of a group of policemen in London, May 4, 1979 Via pinterest.com
HE MADE ART AND FASHION COLLIDE
While mining one another’s inspirations is now par for the course in the fashion and contemporary art worlds, Saint Laurent was among the first to tap the gallery for the runway. Sending out clothing inspired by Andy Warhol, Van Gogh and Georges Braque in the ’60s and ’70s, his 1965 Mondrian collection is the most enduring collaboration: containing six shift dresses in homage to Piet Mondrian, the colourful designs punctuated the modernist spirit of an entire generation.
YSL Mondrian day dress, 1965 Via pinterest.com
HE FREED THE NIPPLE BEFORE INSTAGRAM WAS A THING
The on-going fight to #freethenipple on present-day social media reveals the trailblazing nature of Saint Laurent’s taste for sheer throughout his design career. Rebelling in a different way in the era of the miniskirt, Saint Laurent’s models would always go braless under sheer organza blouses and couture gowns with a feathered trim. And much like today’s campaign, the decision was less about pleasing the onlooker, and more about asserting equality between the sexes.
Penelope Tree in YSL, 1968 Via pinterest.com
HE CHAMPIONED DIVERSITY IN FASHION
In a fashion industry where white-washing is still an issue, it’s worth revisiting the designer who went against the grain with his focus on diverse casting in the ’60s and ’70s. Saint Laurent made major strides in diversity that are still being felt today, tapping black models like Iman, Rebecca Ayoko and Katoucha Niane for his muses over the years. Queen Naomi herself – who just this week spoke out against industry racism – even credited the designer with giving her her first Vogue cover. As she said on news of his death in 2008, “He has done so much for people of colour.”
YSL Iman in an advertisement for YSL Rive Gauche, 1980 Via pinterest.com
HE STARRED IN HIS OWN CAMPAIGNS
Today, you’re increasingly likely to see a designer star in his or her own campaign – or, in the case of Donatella for Givenchy, another label’s campaign altogether. But several decades before Marc Jacobs’ beefed up body illustrated the benefits of nude self-promotion, Yves Saint Laurent’s (slightly less oiled) physique broke new ground in fragrance advertising in 1971. Photographed by Jeanloup Sieff, the black and white image for YSL Pour Homme was hardly published anywhere at the time – though it would come to resonate with the gay community in later years.
Yves Saint Laurent stars in his own campaign for his fragrance Pour Homme, 1971 Via pinterest.com
Yves Saint Laurent: the outfits that left a mark in fashion history
The outfits designed by Yves Saint Laurent convey an important meaning: they turned fashion into art. Sharp, elegant, unforgettable, he created modern chic style and rewrote the story of couture and prêt-à-porter. It is not a coincidence that most of the clothes we see on the runways today Yves Saint Laurent had already imagined, designed and created.
Saint Laurent’s creative director Anthony Vaccarello himself in his latest show in Paris paid tribute to the designer’s genius creativity, getting inspired by the icons who accompanied the celebrated couturier during all his life.
Let’s take a step back. It all started when he was replaced at Dior by Marc Bohan, then met Pierre Bergé and chose to present in Paris his first eponymous collection, in rue Spontini. A success endorsed also by the press, first of all by Diana Vreeland from Vogue America.
The style of Saint Laurent was perfectly in line with the times: elegant, with that frisson that added an original and sophisticated allure. His creativity was like a sponge: he absorbed what he saw and revisited it with originality, exploring new paths.
He loved culture and art and this is why in his garments we see reference to the Russian ballet, pop-art, the paintings by Mondrian (see the memorable 1965 jersey dress inspired by the colored patterns by the Dutch artist), the works by Picasso and Proust. A key source of inspiration was also the Jardin Majorelle, the Moroccan paradise where the designer liked to escape to, defined by Yves and Pierre “an oasis where the colors of Matisse blend with those of nature”.
His ability to always be ahead of the curve is to be found probably in one of his “flops”. In 1971 he decided to present a couture collection inspired by the wardrobe of his friend Paloma Picasso, composed mostly of pieces bought in flea markets. He sent down the runway short dresses with a deep V-neckline, suits, wedge shoes and turbans, topped off by a statement makeup. The press and his clients were puzzled, due to the references to the Thirties and Forties, decades which everyone wanted to forget about. In hindsight, his retrospective approach was a first step towards retro style, a trendmuch coveted today by the younger generations.
In his life he was always surrounded by models who became dear friends and icons of YSL style.
Betty Catroux (in the gallery with a safari style outfit), called herself “Yves’s sister”: they shared similar tastes, she was tall, fair-haired and androgynous looking. The year he met her, Yves designed the first celebrated tuxedo for women. The design became even more popular when Bianca Jagger wore it in white.
Loulou de La Falaise had a boho allure, they worked together for several years and she helped him rediscover color and designed jewelry pieces for the house until 2002.
For Catherine Deneuve, a true French fashion icon he created the vinyl trench coat she wears in Belle de Jour, while Laetitia Casta, his last great muse, took the runway for him wearing only roses for SS 1999, evoking the wedding bikini from 1968. Charm, glamour and the dream.
His see-through dress (the first shirtdress style), made “free nipples” trendy even before Instagram.
Check out the gallery to see the iconic garments designed by Yves Saint Laurent, which still inspire today’s fashion
History of haute couture
Fuelled by France’s empirical rule and obsession with exoticism, fashion looks further afield for inspiration in the early 20th century. Enter Paul Poiret, the celebrated designer who spins Eastern influences into fantastical haute-couture creations. Gone are austere restrictions of post-revolution France lavish fashion is à la mode once more as art nouveau sweeps across Europe. Freeing women of organ-crushing corsetry, Poiret introduces billowing kimonos, capacious harem pants and elaborately decorated turbans and sultana skirts, cementing his reputation as the King of Fashion.
Inspired by Poiret’s liberated silhouettes, in 1912, Coco Chanel further loosens the constraints of modern clothing, with a debut line of sailor pants and Breton stripes in workaday fabrics. But before Jane Birkin is to add these Gallic tropes into her sartorial cannon in the 1960s, the pendulum of trends swings again.
Blackpink’s Rosé Is A Saint Laurent Ambassador For A New Era
In 1998, Israeli-American designer Alber Elbaz was drafted in from Guy Laroche to succeed Saint Laurent at ready-to-wear. His fresh breeze blew in feather-light chiffons, plume tops and sharp gold satin coats — but the short-lived stint was soon over. Gucci purchased the YSL brand in 1999 and Tom Ford took over, infusing the label with his signature sexy drawl. In his advertising campaign for the fragrance Opium, British model Sophie Dahl posed naked in stiletto heels. Ford left to launch his own label in 2004 — taking the va-va-voom with him.
Italy’s Stefano Pilati stepped in and faithfully reworked Saint Laurent’s Le Smoking, safari jackets, and tulip skirts over his eight-year tenure. After Yves Saint Laurent died in 2008, sales fell, several stores closed and Pilati was replaced by Hedi Slimane in 2012 — previously creative director of YSL menswear in the ’90s. A true game-changer, his edgy, four-year tenure lifted the label’s rock’n’roll spirit, saw it rebranded — controversially — as Saint Laurent, and revived its couture.
Anthony Vaccarello was handed the baton in 2016 and for autumn/winter 2017 mixed men’s and women’s clothing on the runway for the first time. “Everyone has a vision of what they think Saint Laurent should be and that’s something I knew when I started,” the designer told US Vogue in 2018. “I knew that whatever I did, some people would love it and some would hate it. It was the same with Hedi and Stefano [Pilati] before him. I’m fine with it. In fact, I kind of love it.”
Here, Vogue takes a tour of the designer tenures that thread the legendary label together in pictorial form.
Founded in 1961, Yves Saint Laurent is one of the most prominent fashion houses of the 20th century. Originally a House of Haute Couture, Yves Saint Laurent revolutionized the way fashion and society merge and interact in 1966 with the introduction of high-end made clothes produced on a larger scale than the exclusive collections.
Since its inception, Yves Saint Laurent has held influence both inside and outside the fashion industry. Over the years, its founder, the couturier Yves Saint Laurent secured a reputation as one of the 20th century&rsquos foremost designers and personalities.
The Maison was the first one to be revolutionary, and this spirit is a fundamental part of its DNA.
Saint Laurent&rsquos status as a leading fashion House is fully established and recognized by a very distinctive identity and strong codes identified and made still relevant.
Saint Laurent competes globally with the most-high-end exclusive luxury brands and occupies a leading position.
Under the creative vision of Anthony Vaccarello and the leadership of Francesca Bellettini, the brand has built solid foundations for its development and is pursuing its evolution to continue enhancing its influence in the market.
With this strategy firmly in place, Saint Laurent will continue growing and affirming itself in the 21st century as a brand with a strong and clear DNA.
The haute couture salon
History remembers revolutionary designer Gabrielle Bonheur ‘Coco’ Chanel for freeing women from restrictive corsets from the 1920s, with sports-inspired silhouettes cast in lightweight jersey—a fabric associated with men’s underwear at the time. The Chanel wardrobe was all about effortlessness style and functionality, with her designs (signature striped Breton tops and yachting trousers) pioneering a versatility that women’s wardrobes hadn’t known before, which made the salon shows held at 31 Rue Cambon in Paris a revelation. Unbeknown to audiences, Chanel herself would secretly watch their reactions in the reflection of the curved mirror staircase that led to her apartment.
Rome-born fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli’s love of the surrealist art movement—she enjoyed lifelong friendships with artists Francis Picabia, Marcel Duchamp and Man Ray—saw her pushing the boundaries of what clothes can say.
A central figure in Paris’s fashion scene between the two world wars, Schiaparelli combined the irreverence and intellectualism of surrealism with fashion, giving her designs a unique wit. She was also way ahead of her time when it came to collaborations. Between 1937 and 1940, the designer paired up with Salvador Dalí to create a rotary telephone makeup compact and the ‘shoe hat’ that would have delighted her cultured FROW, among them French poet Jean Cocteau.
Further afield, Schaparelli also secured an early iteration of Hollywood fashion ambassador, dressing stars including Marlene Dietrich and Mae West, who wore Schiaparelli in 1937 musical comedy Every Day’s a Holiday. It wasn’t all limitless adoration, however. The designer’s close ties with the art world gave her cultural influence beyond fashion, which drew a famously arch observation from Coco Chanel, who referred to Schiaparelli as “that Italian artist who makes clothes”.
Known for her mastery of the bias cut (a technique of cutting fabric against the grain on a diagonal, to let it drape across the body), French haute couturier Madeleine Vionnet took movement (particularly, dancer Isadora Duncan’s barefoot ritual dances) and Ancient Greek sculpture as her cue for a fresh approach in the 1920s.
Instead of corsetry and padding, Vionnet debuted slinky designs that clung to the body, drawing a roster of high-profile clients including Katharine Hepburn, Joan Crawford and Greta Garbo. The admiration of Hollywood’s elite proved to be Vionnet’s passport. Her first collection presentation took place at American department store Charles & Ray Ladies' Tailors in New York City, influencing the shows she would go on to hold at her Paris salon on 50 Avenue Montaigne.
A Timeline of Yves Saint Laurent’s Storied Fashion Career
Yves Saint Laurent was born on this day in 1936 in Oran, Algeria. Since his death in 2008, his self-named couture house has experienced creative transformations dreamed up by Stefano Pilati (slight upheaval, closed stores), Hedi Slimane (revamped vision, shortened moniker), and—as of next month—Anthony Vaccarello of Versus Versace.
Throughout his life in fashion, Saint Laurent was a constant proponent of all things forward-thinking, introducing the first tuxedos for women, championing diversity in model casting, and even starring in his own campaigns—all feats that were revolutionary in his time. Here are five noteworthy moments from the storied career of Yves Saint Laurent.
1953–1955: Moves to Paris
After winning a prize in International Wool Secretariat design competition, Saint Laurent moved to Paris to pursue an education in fashion. He soon met Michel de Brunhoff, editor of French Vogue, who—after noticing similarities in aesthetic—introduced the young designer to Christian Dior.
Yves Saint-Laurent sketching fashion designs on a chalkboard in the atelier of the House of Christian Dior.
1957: Becomes head designer at Christian Dior
Saint Laurent began working at Christian Dior as an intern of sorts, eventually providing sketches for the collections and ultimately being announced as Dior’s eventual successor. This came to pass sooner than expected, and for his first collection at the helm of the brand—at just 21-years-old—Saint Laurent showed a more delicate take on Dior’s "New Look," with pieces like the trapeze dress taking center stage.
Saint-Laurent working with a fashion model at his own fashion house in Paris.
1961: Creates his own couture house with partner Pierre Bergé
In 1960, he was drafted into the French Army, an event that led to both a nervous breakdown and his untimely dismissal from Dior. Once he recovered, Saint Laurent and Bergé set out to create their own house. The first collection debuted in 1962, which introduced the peacoat—and his slightly androgynous taste—as runway ready staples.
A model wearing a dinner jacket, blouse, and black silk bow-tie for Yves Saint Laurent's spring 1967 haute couture collection.
1966: Introduces Le Smoking, the first tuxedos for women
Complete with a cummerbund, Saint Laurent's "Le Smoking" was our first introduction to tuxedo styles for women, a trend which offered the backdrop of Hedi Slimane’s reimagined aesthetic during his time as creative director.
A model wearing a a double-breasted gabardine suit for Yves Saint Laurent's 1971 spring haute couture collection.
1971: "Libération" collection
YSL drew inspiration from the 1940s with his "Libération" collection, which was regarded as scandalous in Paris after its showing. The designer combined a wartime feel with a seemingly random and over-the-top selection of silhouettes, colors, and accessories, jarring critics of high fashion while imbuing the culture with a new, bolder sensibility.
Iman wearing a bandeau top and skirt by Yves Saint Laurent.
Conde Nast via Getty Images
1985: "African Queen" collection
After drawing inspiration from Africa for his 1967 collection, Saint Laurent debuted his “African Queen” collection, dedicating the show to longtime muse Iman. The designer was an early advocate of diversity on the runway, casting women like Katoucha Niane and Naomi Campbell, who credits Saint Laurent for her first French Vogue cover, in his shows.