Thursday, January 9, 2014

Yves Saint Laurent

Yves Saint-Laurent

On 1st August 1936 in Oran, Algeria, Yves Mathieu Saint Laurent was born, where his father worked in insurance. When he was a child, they moved to France. In 1953, when he was 17, Yves arrived in Paris, and entered the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture School. He entered a competition organised by the International Wool Secretariat, and won first prize with an asymmetrically draped, one-sleeved cocktail dress. Coincidentally, another prize winner in this same competition was Karl Lagerfeld in the coat category.

Michel de Brunhoff, the editor of Vogue, introduced him to Christian Dior, who took him on to work with him until Christain Dior’s death in 1957. He impressed Christian Dior immensely and in October 1957 Dior said to his staff " there are 3O designs in my latest collection which are based on Yves's work, he is an exceptional talent, I want him to be recognized. His staff said that YSL was still very young and that he should wait a little longer. Dior said he would bring him out at the next collection. But it was not to be, he died just a few days later. Yves Saint Laurent took over as Art Director at Christain Dior Company, and his first collection in 1958, the “Ling Trapéze”, became a resounding success the world over. YSL presented 6 collections for Dior, although by then the staff at Dior were beginning to get a little upset at what they felt was rather a too flamboyant style for sedate Dior. The clientele however, adored his designs. One person in particular, the Duchess of Windsor bought many of his creations.Yves was also a top Haute Couture designer and many of his collections are in art galleries around the world.

In 1958 he purchased one of his black rose-covered tulle evening dresses which he afterwards donated to the V&A London permanent costume collection.

The 1960 Spring/Summer collection was BEATNIK, all motorcycle jackets made of alligator skin, mink coats with ribbed sweater sleeves and turtlenecks under finely cut suits. It was highly praised by the public, as one of the most beautiful and youthful collections the house had ever produced. But it caused an uproar with Dior staff and particularly with Marcel Boussac, who controlled the DIOR company. It was felt that YSL had misjudged the staid clientele of Dior.

In 196O YSL left on compulsory military service but suffered a nervous collapse and was discharged.

He returned to find that Dior had installed Marc Bohan as the head designer. He was most upset about this and in 1961 he sued for compensation and won 48,OOO pounds. When he received this money, he decided to set up his own salon with his good friend Pierre Berge, who is still with him today. Berge became his alter-ego and business manager, enabling Yves to concentrate on designing beautiful clothes without having to worry about the money side of his affairs.

In 1962 the house of St. Laurent opened on the rue Spontini In a mansion formerly owned by the painter Forain, and Yves started designing and selling his creations exactly the way he wanted to. He chose not to produce a new silhouette every six months, but derived his collections from a treasure trove of sources like theatre, painting, history, etc. Life Magazine calls his first collection "the best suits since Chanel."

In September 1966, the first prêt-à-porter Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche shop was opened in Paris, at 21 rue de Toumon, which then moved to 6 Place Saint-Sulpice.

1969 The first London Rive Gauche shop was opened.
Yves  Saint Laurent

Catherine Deneuve, the exquisite French actress, is YSL's Muse. She is someone who has worn his clothes since he began, and in 1966 he even designed the costumes worn in her most famous film "Belle de Jour". She even today appears in his advertisements for perfume and beauty products.1969 First mans suit for women, which was to be his leitmotif explicitly evoking memories of Marlene Dietrich.1970 The denim skirt and film costumes for "The Siren of Mississipi".1971 YSL launched first Pret-a-Porter collection.1972 Andy Warhol, the Pop artist paints the famous series of multiple- image portraits of Yves St. Laurent.

1983 The Metropolitan Museum of New York, held an Exhibition displaying 25 years of YSL designs which was a great success.1989 YSL is the first designer to go public with his house, by putting its shares on the stock exchange.1993 Merger-cum-takeover of the St. Laurent group by Elf-Sonofi Co. YSL and Pierre Berger continuing artistic control till 2001.In 2002, Yves has reached the age of 65. It is coming up to a half century since he started designing, and his talent is still limitless. But he decided to bid farewell to the world of fashion that he has so loved.

January 22nd 2002, was the last couture show of the house of Yves St. Laurent and the house closed after fulfilling the orders from this January show. The doors of YSL Haute Couture atelier on the Avenue Marceau in Paris, finally closed on October 31st 2002. Yves said farewell to all his colleagues and workers. The experienced YSL people have now joined other ateliers, 15 going to Azzedine Alaia and several to Chanel and Jean Paul Gaultier.

Saint Laurent, 71, died on 31. Sunday night in March 2008 at his Paris home after a yearlong battle with brain cancer, said Pierre Berge, Saint Laurent's close friend and business partner for four decades.The Gucci Group, which acquired the Yves Saint Laurent fashion house in 1999, said the designer's death "leaves a great emptiness but also a sublime inheritance."

"This genius of creation shattered the codes to create French elegance which today makes Paris a grand capital of fashion," Gucci said.President Nicolas Sarkozy praised Saint Laurent for "putting his mark on a half-century of creation, in luxury as well as ready-to-wear." First lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, who graced Saint Laurent's runway during her modeling career, said she had a "heavy heart" on learning of his death.

One of Yves St. Laurent's greatest talents is colour - from his Mondrian-inspired dresses to his Ballet Russes collections in the 70's. Some say he is the supreme fashion colourist of this century, unrivalled by any other designer. His colour schemes even clash elegantly. He repeats what Chanel said, "Fashions change, Style remains." His dream is to give women the foundation of a classic wardrobe, which, by escaping trends, gives them more confidence in themselves. His Smoking (tuxedo) jacket was a shock when it was introduced in 1966. A woman was banned in the 60's from dining at the Plaza hotel in New York, because she was wearing a YSL pantsuit. His pants and jackets became a statement for a new generation of women, and he said "I want to shock people, force them to think." The secret to his style (or styles because there are many) is that he creates clothes that make a woman look great and feel the height of elegance.YSL was truely a legend.

The genius of YSL is truely unique ,aesthetic of Yves Saint Laurent is unattainable because he was the man who had the depth of colors , contrasts and prints, he was at the same time master of fine cutting , an expert on the fabrics and was best in using the cutting and design of his dresses to describe an attire , the use of prints and colors was not his only weapon to give his dresses the beauty.So all in all he had both Italian (colors, prints and contrasts)and French (elegant cutting )approach combined in his collection which so far no other designer is able to do.
Yves Saint Laurent,the world's most influential designer and my favourite designer.

                                                       YSL's Collections

The famous “Mondrian” Dress by Saint Laurent

YSL with Models

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Fashion Designers from Germany, Belgium and Rest of the World.

Raf Simons

Raf Simons has followed a rare, perhaps unique, path as a fashion designer: from the sleek, industrial-chic menswear he has produced under his own name to the theatrically feminine hothouse that is Christian Dior (Brand)—with six direction-changing years creating menswear-inspired minimalism-with-a-twist at Jil Sander.
His collections (menswear only) are strongly influenced by youth culture albeit in an indirect way. His style, described as "tortured youth" or "live fast, die Bohemian" often combines strongly cut classic menswear with sharp lines. He is cited as being one of the most important innovators in contemporary menswear by the international press.His "Raf Simons" and "Raf by Raf Simons" collections are sold at Barneys and Seven in New York and a variety of locations around the world; stockists are listed on the official website.He worked as creative director for Jil Sander from 2055-2012 and is now working as creative director for House of Dior.

“Probably the most influential menswear designer of the last decade” is how Cathy Horyn of The New York Times described the Belgian-born designer Raf Simons in 2005—a few months after the house of Sander announced that he would be taking over as its creative director (following the departure, yet again, of the label’s founder). Even though the Antwerp-based Simons was something of a mystery to the fashion establishment at the time—“Jay Fielden, the editor of the new Men’s Vogue, told me that until he saw Simons in the front row at the Sander men’s show in June, he didn't know what the 37-year-old designer looked like,” Horyn continued in her piece—his appointment would turn out to be a match made in heaven.Raf Simons born in Neerpelt in 1968, in the province of Limburg, Belgium, to a soldier and a house cleaner.In 1990 Begins an internship with Belgian designer Walter Van Beirendonck, who takes him to his first fashion show, Maison Martin Margiela’s all-white collection. “Nothing else in fashion has had such a big impact on me,”  Simons later says.

Over the course of his seven years at Jil Sander, however, Simons began to subtly reaim his sights on the female form, offering sharp-angled, futuristic looks, which, although always economical, often displayed a dash of understated seduction.
In 2010, Simons’s work was seen to take a more fanciful turn when he presented the first of three couture-inspired collections, all of which played with the shapes, colors, and proportions associated with haute couture, and were his most feminine to date.“Everyone is in a tiny cocktail dress and extreme shoes,” he told Vogue’s Mark Holgate before the spring 2011 presentation. “I’d be much more interested in seeing a girl in a ten euro T-shirt and a couture skirt.”

Even so, after John Galliano, the influential and troubled designer, was let go from Christian Dior in 2011, many still thought Simons’s aesthetic was too streamlined for him to be considered a candidate for Dior’s artistic director—especially considering the house’s rather flamboyant, even theatrical, reputation.But in April 2012, two months after his last show at Jil Sander, Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton announced that Simons was indeed its choice for Galliano’s replacement. His first presentation for the brand was the fall couture collection shown that July—which drew rave reviews for its modernist reinterpretations of Dior’s New Look icon, the Bar jacket. “Fashion people routinely describe any change of command in terms of a papal ascension,” The New York Times was moved to write. “But this time the sense [is] legitimate.”

                                                  Simons's Collection for Jil Sander

Diane von Furstenberg

Furstenberg is a Belgian born fashion designer who gained initial success in 1982 for her iconic jersey wrap dresses. In the eighties she retreated from New York and fashion, only to make a triumphant return the following decade.Her dresses are elegent ,she is master of colours and prints which rest on finely tailored fabrics. Proving that lightning can strike twice, she rebuilt her business from the ground up, reintroducing the wrap and much more to a new generation.

A master at designing the dress, Diane von Furstenberg adds a fresh yet captivatingly feminine perspective, making it eminently appropriate for almost all occasions. The designer's free-spirited independence and straightforward style have earned her iconic status among fashion-conscious women of every generation.Diane von Furstenberg is renowned for its iconic wrap dress and signature prints, DVF has grown into the global luxury lifestyle brand known today. The company, headquartered in New York City, has expanded to a full comprehensive line of ready-to-wear, swimwear, handbags, footwear, eyewear, luggage, accessories, fine jewellery, fragrance and rugs.

                                                             Furstenberg's Collection 

Kris Van Assche

The Belgian designer who worked for many years at YSL and then while collobrating with Hedi Slimane launched Dior Homme collection in 2004.Balancing a nostalgic historical sense with radical modernism, Kris Van Assche has created a distinctive, refined world of nonchalant elegance. Impelled by a vision of the man who takes the time to "dress up", he has embarked on an esthetic quest, pursuing a new masculinity infused with poetry and authenticity.Kris is a master of detail. Give him a single colour to work with, a double-breasted jacket form and some scissors, then stand back and let the magic take its course.Today he runs his own label KRISVANASSCHE and he the creative director for Dior Homme since 2007.

                                                       Assche's Dior Homme Collection

Jil Sander

Sander is a fashion designer known for minimalist designs, also called the "mother of clean outfits". In 1968, she opened her own boutique in Hamburg, Germany. In 1973, at the age of 24, she founded her eponymous fashion house. And showing her first collection in 1974. She perceived a need for understated clothes with a sense of quiet inner self-confidence, but which would provide the wearer with the ultimate in fit, quality and modernity. Her minimalist style gained popularity on the international market. She combined the simplicity of male garments with a feminine sense of luxurious fabrics. Her clothes were a byword for a ultra-modern, sensuality that was technical as well as beautiful. Jil Sander also experimented with new materials such as silver-laminated linen, which she felt to be much more subtle than straightforward silver. Her minimalist trademarks include striking silhouettes, high-end fabrics,brilliant colours and meticulous detail emphasizing quality over flash. Her work descends from that of Coco Chanel, as opposed to the bleeding-edge aesthetic of Lagerfeld and Gaultier or the readiness of sportswear design, as exemplified by the like of Giorgio Armani and Calvin Klein. After Jil Sander retired in 2005 the House of Jil Sander is run now by the famous Raf Simons , later in 2012 Raf also left the House and went to House of Dior.Many are expecting Jil Sander to be coming back to lead her House.
Jil Sander
                                                               Jil Sander's Collection

Elie Saab

Saab is a Lebanese designer.  In 1981 he went to Paris, intending to study fashion, but was impatient to get started on making clothes. So he returned to Beirut and set up his own workshop in 1982.
His atelier started right from the beginning to make evening gowns and wedding dresses. His clothes were a mixture of Oriental and Western styles. During the 1980's, his collections attracted many clients, including Princesses and his reputation built up. His signature style of making garments using rich fabrics, lace, detailed embroidery, pearls, crystals and silk threads, put Saab in a league of his own. By 1986 orders were pouring in and jet setters and high rollers were after his creations. During the 1990's, he took a bigger atelier and started fulfilling orders from Paris and Switzerland. 

In 1997 Saab was the first non-Italian designer to become a member of the Italian Camera Nazionale della Moda, and so in 1997, Elie showed his first collection outside Lebanon, which was in Rome.In 1998, he started ready-to-wear in Milan. In the same year, he held his fashion show in Monaco, attended by Princess Stephanie. His evening gowns are very renowned for their elegance. He is one of the top Haute Couture designer in the world and a member of Chamber Syndicate of Haute Couture.He always shows at least ten wedding gowns with every collection. Nowadays, he dresses many Hollywood film stars and attractive American women. 

He became particularly well-known in early 2002, when Halle Berry wore his red gown to receive her Oscar Award. She was the first black woman recipient of an Oscar, and Saab was the first Lebanese designer to dress an Oscar winner.
In May 2003, the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture invited him to become a member, and he showed his first haute couture collection in Paris in July 2003. His first ready-to-wear collection in Paris was the Spring-Summer 2006 collection, and Paris is now his permanent ready-to-wear runway.
Saab has his headquarters in Beirut, with offices in New York and Paris. His ready-to-wear line is made in Italy. He has 60 retail outlets all over the world, 18 of them in the United States. He is now preparing to move into his own new multi-story building in the Beirut Central District, which should be completed soon.
Saab’s collections are glamorous and sophisticated, fusing a cultural myriad of fashion influences to give a distinctive and modern edge to his designs. He experiments with the central themes of femininity and romanticism, creating clothing that is cut-to-the-curve, with soft edges and exquisite detail including hand embroidery, beading and the use of luxurious fabrics such as mousseline and silk. 
                                              Saab's Collection

Alber Elbaz

The creative director of Lanvin.Alber joined the Israeli Defence Force before choosing fashion design and taking up a course at Shenkar College of Textile Technology and Fashion.In 1987, he moved to New York and began working for Geoffrey Beene where he was influenced by Beene's rejection of trends and masterful draping techniques.Elbaz was hired as creative director of French couture house Guy Laroche in 1996, adding his own contemporary take without alienating its clientele. "I didn't forget that Guy Laroche's customers can be, like, 75-years-old and they like pink, bouclé and gold buttons," he said.In 1998, Alber was offered a job at Yves Saint Laurent designing womens ready-to-wear. "For me, this isn't a career move, but the realisation of my life's dream," Elbaz said in a press release from YSL.The appointment was short lived and, after the Gucci Group bought YSL Rive Gauche in 2001, Tom Ford - then Gucci's creative director - dismissed Elbaz to assume all design responsibilities himself.

In 2007 he was awarded the prestigious Legion of Honour in Paris for his services to fashion industry.Since 2001 he is the creative director/head designer of Lanvin.Elbaz produces simple and feminine clothes which are both casual and that wearing them will make a woman feel sexy,beautiful while adding his own twist of quirk that is charming.
Mr Lanvin:Alber Elbaz

                                                          Elbaz's Collection for Lanvin

Kenzo Takada

Takada is a world famous Japanese designer. His motifs are flowers and leaves, even his perfume bottle is a leaf. He likes animal prints, tartans and daring colour combinations. His predilection is for simplified child-like shapes like pullover vests, knee length shorts, mini coats, sweater dresses, made fresh by such foreign nuances as Kimono sleeves (unusual in knitted clothing) and oversized berets. He follows the principle of flat patterns like used for kimonos. He widens armholes and modifies shoulders. He is influenced by folk costumes and interprets varied dress such as Spanish boleros, Austrian loden jackets, Indian trousers, Chinese tunics, Bedouin blankets and Breton aprons.He is also a very creative artist and regularly presents collections in art galleries.
Kenzo Takada

Kenzo's Collection

Dries van Noten

Noten was a Belgian designer. He was born into a family of tailors; his father owned a menswear shop and his grandfather was a tailor. He studied at the Antwerp Fashion Academy where he graduated in 1980.
In 1985, Van Noten started his own company and began designing womens wear. His career as a designer took off in the following year when he presented his first menswear collection in London, together with five other Belgian designers ("The Antwerp Six"). He currently creates four collections a year (men's and women's, both for summer and winter) and used to have a children's line. His work is characterised by a creative use of prints (often ethnic), colours, original fabrics and layering. He has a passionate and faithful following despite the fact he does not advertise.

He uses figure-defining fabrics such as jersey and silk knits and is known for layering jackets over dresses and trousers. He also produces sleek suits with jackets buttoned on the diagonal, long duster coats and matte sequined evening dresses. Van Noten is known for his eclectic use of themes. Prints and embroidery decorate Eastern and Western garments, a sarong is placed over trousers, a sari under a double-breasted jacket.For more than two decades Dries Van Noten has been king of timeless eclecticism and has remained at the helm of his eponymous brand.

                                                            Van Noten's Collection 


Tomas Maier

German-born designer Tomas Maier disdains logos and flashy celebrity endorsements. His approach at both his own label and at Bottega Veneta, where is currently head of creative design, emphasizes craftsmanship and quality over theatrics.  Before embarking on a broader mission, he constituted the core values of Bottega Veneta, which he calls “the four cornerstones”: fine-quality materials, extraordinary craftsmanship, contemporary functionality, and timeless design.Moreoever, while handbags have always been the Bottega Veneta's heart and soul, Maier's elegant and deceptively simple ready-to-wear has garnered a similarly lustrous reputation for anonymous, understated luxury.

 Growing up in the small town of Pforzheim in the Black Forest of Germany, Tomas Maier sat at his architect father's knee while he worked at the drafting table and accompanied him to building sites.After training at the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture in Paris, he learned the ropes at Sonia Rykiel, Guy Laroche, and Revillon.In 1998, he established a line of celebrated swimwear and separates for men and women under his own name, which are available at his boutiques in Miami Beach and Palm Beach, Florida.

   Tom Ford, following Gucci's acquisition of Bottega Veneta in 2001, appointed Maier as its creative director. It was further proof, if any was needed, of Ford's keen eye: Although Maier had clocked time designing for Hermès, he was a relative unknown in an industry that thrives on the star system. Ford, of course, was right. Under Maier's direction Bottega Veneta has morphed from a fading Italian leather-goods house to a leading lifestyle brand.Maier has increased Bottega Veneta’s sales eight hundred per cent in the past nine years, bringing the company out of near-bankruptcy. His strenuous refusal to overmarket the bag is itself a kind of marketing—the type that appeals to a customer who disdains the easy status recognition that comes from a conspicuous label. The appeal of Maier’s designs is similarly aided by clubbiness and small production runs of certain items.

Tomas Maier, the head designer of the Italian fashion label Bottega Veneta, is one of those people who wants to erase every fault in their range of sight.


Maier's Collection