The Departure of Yves Saint Laurent

Even if you are a great designer, perhaps, after a while you feel a sort of fatigue, especially in the kind of creations which demand constant renewal. It is more restful for a painter, precisely because he isn’t subject to… to the collections of each season, so I think that… there were times when there was a certain fatigue.

Tired, Yves Saint Laurent, disappointed, the fashion designer, ruined, the great couturier. The fact remains he is leaving. January 7th will remain as a historic date in the fashion world. At 65 years of age, Saint Laurent the man announces, during a press conference, the end of Saint Laurent, the famous house of fashion, located at number 5 Avenue Marceau in Paris.

These last few years, the business had known financial trouble, the losses exceeding the profits. The house had been financially revived by Pinaud and linked to Gucci, the luxury group. The financier Pinaud not being a strong patron of the arts and the artist Saint Laurent refusing to lose his liberty to create so there things had end.

The last fashion show will take place on 22nd January at the Pompidou centre in Paris. There you will see the presentation of 40 years of creations. Then the customers will be able to order from amongst the successful models of the House.

Goodbye artist! In the sky of the creation, I have rubbed shoulders with the makers of fire as Rimbaud says, Laurent says in his speech. I have known fear and terrible solitude, the prison of depression. He leaves a scene of tragic dimension. Is it really already in the past?

It is in effect in the past that Nadine Gelas, principal of the University of Fashion in Lyon, talks naturally of him. The artist only has his art. The first disappeared, deprived of the second.

With his eternal adolescent silhouette, he showed his suffering… I don’t know if you have seen his face but you feel he was someone who suffered. By the same token, he was someone endearing and I think that in the myth of Saint Laurent, at the same time, it’s sure there was… it was because of his talent for fashion designing, but I think it was as much due to the character of Saint Laurent… of… of a creator torn apart, tortured…

A careful observer, she gives a realistic opinion on the evolution of the phenomena of fashion styles.

But the haute couture doesn’t suit our society any more. I think Saint Laurent also realised this, yes. The change means that in haute couture you no longer have to make great things no it is making use of it as an element of marketing, so…

And to add:

I don’t particularly like the words “everything was better before, it was marvellous, the haute couture, and so now it will not be as good, etc…” No, I think it was good before and it is good now. Times change, and so, that’s how it is!

Saint Laurent is a good model for the young generation who want to take over.

No, I think that some always dream of being the next Saint Laurent… they have at the same time an idea of the fashion but they know that fashion is what is worn by each man and each woman and so, they have need of… of the spirit of invention in the less prestigious names which must be worn by everyone.

When they clothe the people the designers are clothing the times, evidence that fashion is not ugly when you know how to take care as Yves Saint Laurent did.

I think that his contribution, has been essentially that of thinking of fashion in sympathy with the changes in society and the changes in women, so, I want to say… well… it has been the same for some big changes when he introduced the famous smoking jacket, of finding his inspiration in a fashion, I would say, everyday fashion, you see… with some clothes, um… easy to wear, the trench coat… moreover he said it in the… in his departure letter, yes, he said that, to him he had wanted to make women more confident, yes… not only to embellish them. I think that that is a lovely approach to women and to fashion.

The inspiration comes from the street, for example, he has been one of the first designers to draw his inspiration from the street, for example, to see that the woman would become more and more important. You often say a propos of Saint Laurent that by giving them men’s clothes, you know the trouser suit, for example, that at the same time he gave power to women. So that is also being sensitive to the evolution of the woman, for example.

Saint Laurent had his style, which was that of simplicity. I would say more than at the level of a good cut, I think that the talent of Saint Laurent has been precisely of introducing clothes, well, I am not going to keep saying of the smoking jacket… of also having made the trouser suit symbolic. It is a particular conception of women, you see… the executive women, etc…. well… the car coat, the duffle-coat, for example, I would say of having introduced a certain type of clothes. And then his other talent, I think that he… he was an extraordinary colourist, having introduced mixtures of colours, well, which you see. Perhaps because he was very influenced by, his close association with art and the painters at the same time, you see, well, so that gave him his eye for colour, and also because he was, I believe, very influenced by his Moroccan infancy, the colours of the south, the sun. He has always been extremely sensitive to the colours and that, was marvellous.

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