Author(s): Pierre Berge
Founded in 1 961, Yves Saint Laurent has been one of the greatest names in fashion ever since. Throughout the years, the groundbreaking designs of the couture house created innovative and trend-setting pieces of clothing and then, Yves Saint Laurent became the first couture house to launch, in 1966, the modern concept of luxury women's ready-to-wear clothing, in a collection called Rive Gauche. It was followed in 1969 by a Rive Gauche men's line. The Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche boutiques were soon opened throughout the world. In a 1 965 interview Yves Saint Laurent exclaimed, 'No more Ritz, no more asking for the moon, long live the street!' This thought was in synch with the times, the result of much reflection and more than a little intuition. The growing need for chic street wear prompted him to open the first Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche, a Paris boutique at 21, Rue Tournon. In contrast to the opinions of most Parisian designers of the time, it was his absolute conviction that having both couture and a ready-to wear line was the way of the future: "What I am aiming for is to enter supermarkets, to make dresses that are far less expensive." He created the original Saint Laurent Rives Gauche line for professional women who didn't have the financial means to dress in haute couture. His boutique opened on September 26, 1 066. The store was a huge success. People rushed in to buy simple impeccably cut clothes that they carried away in shopping bags emblazoned with the shop's orange and pink logo. This book tells that story. Exploring Laurent's progressive approach to fashion, Saint Laurent Rive Gauche highlights the cultural impact of the brand, especially its influence on women during the 60s and 70s. Rive Gauche revolutionised everyday pieces that were traditionally male; such as the shirt, blazer and trouser suit, for the burgeoning female work force. With three insightful essays and an incredible array of visual material the book celebrates the legacy of Rive Gauche, one of the most significant fashion lines of the past 50 years.
Pierre Berge is the cofounder of Yves Saint Laurent Coture House. Jeromine Savignon is a fashion historianand has written numerous other titles and articles.