An exclusive glimpse of the fashion icon who helped women to become part of the world of men.
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BRUSSELS, Belgium — This Spring get a glimpse of around 100 designs – 80 of which have never been displayed before – of a fashion icon who helped women to become part of the world of men. Yves Saint Laurent introduced revolutionary creations: lighter clothes, trouser suits, uniform jackets and tuxedos rendering women with a sophisticated male look. This fabulous exhibition, Yves Saint Laurent, visionary will be running at the ING Cultural Centre, Place Royale in Brussels until 12 May and examines the intense contribution of this designer to the fashion world.

Yves Saint Laurent Visionary

After moving to Paris from Algeria at the age of 17, Yves Saint Laurent learnt how to be a designer from Dior. The young designer was able to look beyond his time, he thought of a new female role, an emancipated woman with a voice. A woman who could work and be herself, away from the domestic role. This man was Yves Saint Laurent.

Yves Saint Laurent always wanted to design for all women, says Thierry Vandenbussche, spokesman for the exhibition. In Yves Saint Laurent’s work we can see the progress of women, women who began to gain a voice in society, where emancipation and economic independence were closer. He dedicates his creations to women workers who were part of a world traditionally regulated by men. “Saint Laurent developed his ideas when a lot was changing for women”, continues Vandenbussche.

“Yves Saint Laurent brought a lot of fresh and new ideas to haut couture and fashion in general. He was able to join prêt a porter fashion and haut couture. An example is how he introduced transparency in fashion clothing, which was a shock, though he never did it in a vulgar way, but to the contrary, always with grace”, explains this member of the exhibition.

yves saint laurent
‘Yves Saint Laurent, Visionary’
yves saint laurent
‘Yves Saint Laurent, Visionary’

This fashion icon collaborated with their designs to create a more independent woman, a woman who kept the standards of femininity but began to incorporate new pieces of man in woman’s wardrobes. This Dior apprentice came up with a style that is still very much present in present day fashion.

Jasmien Desmaele, member at the Yves Saint Laurent exhibition ‘Yves Saint Laurent, visionary’ retrieves this idea and ensures that Saint Laurent wanted to design for all women. “Perhaps this may sound like a paradox because this designer clothing is expensive, but Yves Saint Laurent incorporated lightweight fabrics in female clothing to make her feel better and more comfortable”.

yves saint laurent
‘Yves Saint Laurent, Visionary’

Yves Saint Laurent Fashion Pioneer

Desmaele remembered the new values ​​surrounding the woman of the 60s, “she can work, she can travel and so, the woman has to feel comfortable. Yves Saint Laurent was one of the pioneers in introducing trousers as part of women’s clothing”.

Haute couture or fashion runways may seem distant, but what we found at the exhibition is what we will see in the stores. Designers like Yves Saint Laurent propose a new way of being a women, which means being a free individual away from the patriarchal status and with particular qualities. Designers like Saint Laurent drew women wearing trousers and miniskirts, two pieces of clothing that have become part of our everyday imaginary, but once upon a time they were unthinkable and totally revolutionary!

Yves Saint Laurent Memorable Quotes

“Over the years I have learned that what is important in a dress is the woman who is wearing it.”

“Fashions fade, style is eternal.”

“Without elegance of the heart, there is no elegance.”

“I have always believed that fashion was not only to make women more beautiful, but also to reassure them, give them confidence.”

“Isn’t elegance forgetting what one is wearing?”


Photography by CRISTINA CUENCA