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Yves Saint Laurent: The Scandal Collection, 1971 offers a behind-the-scenes look at the influential collection that “drew fire in the fashion world”—from the collection’s inspiration to the press coverage that followed.
“His inspiration was drawn from World War II and the Occupation, he showed couture looks that included square shoulders, knee-length skirts, platform heels and simple patterned dresses . . . What Saint Laurent was doing, of course, was blurring the line between couture and ready-to-wear.” —New York Times
On January 21, 1971, couturier Yves Saint Laurent presented his spring-summer haute couture collection. Inspired by the garments of the war years, the collection included short dresses, platform shoes, square shoulders, and exaggerated makeup. The show caused an outrage among the public, the critics, and the press alike, earning it the title of “Paris’s ugliest collection.” Nevertheless, the haute couture designs of the runway made their way to the boulevards, giving full sway to the “retro” trend that quickly conquered the streets.
Beautifully illustrated and documented with well-researched essays curated by Olivier Saillard and Dominique Veillon, this book is enriched with personal interviews and archival photographs of the “scandalous” show, the models, the designs, and the textile and print samples, as well as sketches and international press clippings.
Saint Laurent was one of France’s most prominent fashion designers. From his work at Dior to the time of his founding his eponymous YSL fashion label in 1962 to his death in 2008, his work was a force in an industry full of big names and successful houses. In 1985, fashion historian Caroline Milbank wrote, “The most consistently celebrated and influential designer of the past twenty-five years, Yves Saint Laurent can be credited with both spurring the couture’s rise from its 1960s ashes and with finally rendering ready-to-wear reputable.” He developed his style to accommodate the changes in fashion during that period. He approached his aesthetic from a different perspective by helping women find confidence by looking both comfortable and elegant at the same time.
For those who admire Saint Laurent’s life and work, for historians looking back at key moments in fashion history, and for designers looking for inspiration, this book and the work it displays will be a resource that will be referred to again and again.
About the Author
Olivier Saillard is the director of the Palais Galliera, Museum of Fashion, and the curator of the Yves Saint Laurent 1971: The Scandal Collection exhibition.
Dominique Veillon is a historian.
Pierre Bergé is president of the Pierre Bergé–Yves Saint Laurent Foundation.