Yves Saint Laurent (fashion house)

Coordinates: 48°51′25″N 2°19′18″E / 48.8569469°N 2.3216936°E / 48.8569469; 2.3216936
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Yves Saint Laurent SAS
Saint Laurent
Company typeSubsidiary (SAS)
Founded1962; 62 years ago (1962) in Paris
FounderYves Saint Laurent
Pierre Bergé
  • 37 Rue de Bellechasse
  • 75007 Paris
  • France
48°51′25″N 2°19′18″E / 48.8569469°N 2.3216936°E / 48.8569469; 2.3216936
Key people
  • Ready-to-wear
  • leather accessories
  • footwear
Revenue€5.57 billion (2021)[1]

Yves Saint Laurent SAS[2] (/ˌv ˌsæ̃ lɔːˈrɒ̃/, also UK: /- lɒˈ-/, US: /- lˈ-/, French: [iv sɛ̃ lɔʁɑ̃] ), also known as Saint Laurent and YSL,[3] is a French luxury fashion house founded in 1962 by Yves Saint Laurent and his partner, Pierre Bergé. The company specializes in haute couture, ready-to-wear, leather accessories, and footwear.[4] Its cosmetics line, YSL Beauty, is owned by L'Oréal.[5][6]


Logo of YSL 1962–2012
Logo of Saint Laurent Paris since 2012
Yves Saint Laurent dress (A/W 1981) inspired by Matisse's La Blouse Roumaine (1940)

The eponymous brand was established in 1962 by designer Yves Saint Laurent and his partner, Pierre Bergé. The brand's logos were designed in 1963 by A. M. Cassandre.[7] During the 1960s and 1970s, YSL popularized the beatnik look, safari jackets, tight pants, and thigh-high boots. In 1966, YSL debuted Le Smoking, a tuxedo suit for women. In an attempt to democratize fashion, YSL began producing ready-to-wear in 1966, with its launch of Rive Gauche, and is considered to be the first to popularize the concept.[8] YSL's designs often featured designs influenced from traditional Chinese clothing, as well as themes from Pop Art, Ballets Russes, and Picasso. Saint Laurent is credited with initiating the broad, shoulder-padded style in 1978, that would go on to characterize 1980s fashion.[9] Saint Laurent's muses included Loulou de La Falaise, Betty Catroux, Talitha Pol-Getty, Catherine Deneuve and Laetitia Casta.[10][11]

YSL dress "Hommage à Piet Mondrian" (A/W 1965) on left, with inspiration Composition in red, blue and white II by Piet Mondrian on right
Models in cocktail dresses (A/W 1965) by Yves Saint Laurent inspired by Piet Mondrian art, 1966

The brand expanded in the 1980s and early 1990s with men's and women's fragrances, building upon its cosmetic line introduced in 1978. However, by 1992, the company's profits were in decline and its share price had fallen.[12] In 1993, Saint Laurent was sold to pharmaceuticals company Sanofi.[13]

In 1997, Pierre Bergé appointed Hedi Slimane as collections and art director and relaunched Rive Gauche Homme.[14] Slimane departed two years later to head couture menswear at Dior Homme.[15]

In 1999, Kering purchased YSL and hired Tom Ford to design its ready-to-wear collection, while Yves Saint Laurent himself would design its haute couture collection.[16] Designs by Tom Ford for YSL were chosen Dress of the Year by the Fashion Museum in 2001 and 2004.[17]

In 2002, after years of personal issues as well as criticisms of YSL designs, Saint Laurent closed the couture division of YSL. In 2004, Tom Ford departed the company and Stefano Pilati, an Italian-born designer, became creative director.[18] Yves Saint Laurent died of brain cancer in 2008.[19] The following few years proved to be tumultuous for the company,[12] with YSL stores closing in the key U.S. markets of San Francisco and New York (including the company's Madison Avenue location, its first-ever store in the United States). In January 2010, its Chicago boutique on Oak Street also closed.[20]

In 2012, Kering announced Hedi Slimane would return to the brand, replacing Stefano Pilati as creative director for YSL. In 2015, Slimane announced he would revive Yves Saint Laurent's haute couture line,[21] and proceeded to do so.[22] After his appointment, Slimane moved the design studio to Los Angeles, Slimane's home; the couture atelier would remain in France.[12]

Despite Slimane previously working with the house, there was controversy following his appointment, particularly after the house announced their ready-to-wear line would be rebranded "Saint Laurent" (dropping "Yves" from its name).[23] "Yves Saint Laurent" and the YSL vertical monogram logo would remain for accessories and its L'Oréal-owned cosmetics line. Slimane drew inspiration for the name change from the ready-to-wear line Rive Gauche's name when it first launched, "Saint Laurent Rive Gauche".[24]

Parisian boutique Colette began selling shirts with the line "Ain't Laurent without Yves." Saint Laurent requested the store stop selling the shirts (which it did on its online store). In October 2013, Colette received a letter from YSL accusing it of selling counterfeit products that seriously damaged the brand. Following the accusation, Saint Laurent canceled Colette's order for its Spring 2014 Collection, despite Colette stocking the brand since 1998.[25]

In 2016, Slimane left Saint Laurent[26] and Anthony Vaccarello was appointed creative director, a position he still holds as of 2024.[27] When COVID-19 negatively impacted the sales of YSL, Vaccarello came up with the idea to sell the handbags at a discounted price in bulk to wholesalers, without the authentication and 12 digit serial number leather tag, expanding the brand's market and available price points.[28] In 2017, Vaccarello chose Charlotte Gainsbourg, daughter of Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin, as face of the A/W 2017 campaign.[29] In July 2020, Rosé, a Korean-New Zealand singer-songwriter, was named the first-ever global ambassador of Yves Saint Laurent.[30]

In April 2023, the house launched Saint Laurent Productions, a production company for art cinema. Costumes for films made by the company will be designed by Saint Laurent's creative director, Anthony Vaccarello.[31] The production company's first films are two shorts: Pedro Almodóvar's Strange Way of Life and Jean-Luc Godard's posthumous Trailer Of The Film That Will Never Exist: Phony Wars. Both premiered at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival. The company's next project is David Cronenberg's upcoming film The Shrouds.[32][33]

Yves Saint Laurent Archive Gallery

Advertising and criticism[edit]

In June 2015, the company was criticized for an advertisement published in the Elle UK magazine that was banned by the UK advertising regulator, which ruled that the model featured in it was "unhealthily thin".[34][35][36][37][38]

On March 8, 2017, a new advertisement for the Fall 2017 collection offended internet users who saw it as a "degrading vision of women" and again the use of anorexic models.[39] The company was ordered to remove two posters from this campaign by the French Advertising Standards Authority (ARPP),[40][41] which ruled them "degrading".[42][43]

Tax evasion[edit]

According to an investigation by Mediapart and the European Investigative Collaborations (EIC) network, the company Yves Saint Laurent evaded approximately €180 million in taxes in France between 2009 and 2017, through an offshore scheme organized by its parent company Kering.[44] Between 2009 and 2017, the journalists detail, €550 million in profits were thus returned to a Swiss subsidiary of Kering, called Luxury Goods International (LGI), whose profits were taxed at around 8% by the canton of Ticino with the help of a tax agreement (while the corporate tax rate is 33% in France), while the company officially only realized €7 million in cumulative profits in France between 2009 and 2016 (resulting in an imposition of €430,000).[45][46]


  1. ^ "Kering Revenue Tops $20 Billion in 2021, Boosted by Growth from Gucci". February 17, 2022.
  2. ^ "Yves Saint Laurent SAS: Private Company Information". www.bloomberg.com. Retrieved January 1, 2018.
  3. ^ "Saint Laurent". Kering. Archived from the original on December 24, 2017. Retrieved January 1, 2018.
  4. ^ Garside, Juliette (June 21, 2012). "Saint Laurent label drops Yves name for ready-to-wear collection". the Guardian. Retrieved September 1, 2022.
  5. ^ Born, Pete (December 15, 2008). "L'Oreal Gains YSL Beaute". Women's Wear Daily. Retrieved September 1, 2022.
  6. ^ Pyle, Ally (May 1, 2008). "Beauty Sale". British Vogue. Retrieved September 30, 2022.
  7. ^ Henri Mouron (1986). Cassandre : Posters, Typography, Stage Designs. London: Thames and Hudson. pp. 147–148. ISBN 0-500-23450-7.
  8. ^ Alicia Drake. The Beautiful Fall: Lagerfeld, Saint Laurent, and Glorious Excess in 1970s Paris. Little, Brown and Company, 2006. p.49.
  9. ^ Donovan, Carrie (November 12, 1978). "Why the Big Change Now". The New York Times. p. 226. Retrieved November 18, 2021. What Saint Laurent sprang on the fashion world last January when he introduced man‐tailored suit jackets with shoulders squared out with padding...has now become staple fashion in Italy, France and America.
  10. ^ de Berker, Elsa (August 1, 2020). "YSL Muses Throughout History - CR Fashionbook". CR Fashionbook. Retrieved August 31, 2022.
  11. ^ "The Saint Laurent women". Musée Yves Saint Laurent Paris. Retrieved May 2, 2023.
  12. ^ a b c "Yves Saint Laurent – Voguepedia". vogue.com. Archived from the original on August 9, 2014. Retrieved March 21, 2014.
  13. ^ "Sale of the Groupe YSL to Elf-Sanofi". Musée Yves Saint Laurent Paris. Retrieved September 1, 2022.
  14. ^ Dinh, Duc (April 2, 2016). "Hedi Slimane Is Leaving Saint Laurent, Again | Peacock Plume". peacockplume.fr. Retrieved September 1, 2022.
  15. ^ Chan, AuthorTsuya (May 22, 2021). "Looking Back on Hedi Slimane's Dior Homme". TOKION. Retrieved September 1, 2022.
  16. ^ Glass, Joshua (August 1, 2019). "Looking Back at Tom Ford's Beef with Yves Saint Laurent - CR Fashionbook". CR Fashionbook - CR Fashion Site. Retrieved September 1, 2022.
  17. ^ "Dress of the Year". The Fashion Museum. November 10, 2014. Archived from the original on September 1, 2022. Retrieved September 1, 2022.
  18. ^ Carreon, Blue (May 8, 2012). "Stefano Pilati's Greatest Hits At Yves Saint Laurent". Forbes. Retrieved September 1, 2022.
  19. ^ O'Sullivan, John-Michael (March 2, 2014). "Yves Saint Laurent: the battle for his life story". the Guardian. Retrieved September 1, 2022.
  20. ^ "Yves Saint Laurent Hands Over Their Oak Street Lease – Intelligence – Racked Chicago". chicago.racked.com. September 2, 2011. Retrieved March 21, 2014.
  21. ^ Fraser, Kristopher (July 28, 2015). "Saint Laurent announces revival of couture". FashionUnited. Retrieved July 30, 2015.
  22. ^ Tablang, Kristin (July 29, 2015). "Yves Saint Laurent Is Returning to Couture for the First Time in Over a Decade". Forbes. Retrieved September 1, 2022.
  23. ^ "Name Change Ahead at Yves Saint Laurent – Designer Luxury – Markets – WWD.com". wwd.com. June 21, 2012. Retrieved March 21, 2014.
  24. ^ "SAINT LAURENT rive gauche". Musée Yves Saint Laurent Paris. Retrieved February 23, 2022.
  25. ^ "Saint Laurent withdraw from Colette over parody T-shirt – Telegraph". fashion.telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved March 21, 2014.
  26. ^ Miles Socha (April 2016). "Saint Laurent Confirms Hedi Slimane Exit – WWD". Wwd.com. Retrieved June 21, 2016.
  27. ^ "How Will Anthony Vaccarello Change YSL?". Highsnobiety.com. April 7, 2016. Retrieved June 21, 2016.
  28. ^ "My Idea of YSL Lies in the Attitude"—Anthony Vaccarello Talks Saint Laurent Vogue September 27, 2016
  29. ^ hero-magazine.com Charlotte Gainsbourg is the new face of Saint Laurent, ALEX JAMES TAYLOR, 18 MAY 2017
  30. ^ "Blackpink's Rosé is a Saint Laurent Ambassador for a New Era". British Vogue. July 3, 2020.
  31. ^ Keslassy, Elsa (April 13, 2023). "Saint Laurent Launches Production Banner With Cannes-Bound Movies by Pedro Almodóvar, David Cronenberg's New Film". Variety. Retrieved April 14, 2023.
  32. ^ Socha, Miles (April 13, 2023). "EXCLUSIVE: Saint Laurent Creates Film Production Subsidiary". WWD. Retrieved April 14, 2023.
  33. ^ Ntim, Zac (April 13, 2023). "French Fashion House Saint Laurent Launches Production Banner With Films By Pedro Almodóvar And David Cronenberg". Deadline. Retrieved April 14, 2023.
  34. ^ "'Unhealthily underweight model' Yves Saint Laurent advert banned". BBC News. June 3, 2015. Retrieved May 10, 2020..
  35. ^ "Warehouse ad showed unhealthily thin model, ASA finds". BBC News. June 21, 2023. Retrieved October 15, 2023.
  36. ^ "Saint Laurent Ad Starring 'Unhealthily Thin' Model Banned in the UK". Fashionista. Retrieved October 15, 2023.
  37. ^ Mackay, Mairi (June 3, 2015). "Yves Saint Laurent ad featuring 'unhealthily' thin model banned in UK". CNN. Retrieved October 15, 2023.
  38. ^ Rucki, Alexandra (June 3, 2015). "Yves Saint Laurent advert banned for showing 'unhealthily underweight'". Evening Standard. Retrieved October 15, 2023.
  39. ^ Thompson, Rachel (March 7, 2017). "People are calling for this 'sexist' and 'degrading' advert to be removed". Mashable. Retrieved October 15, 2023.
  40. ^ ARPP (September 8, 2016). "08.03.2017 - Réunis en Conseil d'Administration, les membres de l'ARPP réitèrent leur position concernant la campagne Yves Saint Laurent". ARPP (in French). Retrieved October 15, 2023.
  41. ^ "Saint Laurent told to modify ad campaign after uproar in France". Reuters. March 6, 2017. Retrieved October 15, 2023.
  42. ^ "French regulator tells Saint Laurent to remove degrading posters". The Guardian. Agence France-Presse. March 8, 2017. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved October 15, 2023.
  43. ^ AFP (March 6, 2017). "El Real Tex Mex Clothing". FashionUnited. Retrieved October 15, 2023.
  44. ^ Philippin, Yann; Malagutti, Vittorio; Rosenberg, Esther (March 19, 2018). "Le système Pinault : une évasion à 2,5 milliards d'euros". Mediapart. Retrieved March 19, 2018.
  45. ^ Philippin, Yann (March 19, 2018). "Yves Saint Laurent déshabille le fisc". Mediapart. Retrieved March 19, 2018.
  46. ^ "YSL, trois lettres qui valent de l'or". Le Figaro (in French). June 3, 2008. Retrieved October 15, 2023.

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