When Yves Saint Laurent needed it the most, he found what he was looking for. A Muse.
After a long-day’s work at his renowned Atelier, a much needed break and a few glasses of Glenfiddich later, Yves found himself entranced by a woman he sees dancing at a regular night club he visited in bustling downtown Paris. A woman who innately mastered the art of commanding attention, but yet very timidly and mysteriously exudes this wondrous energy. It was really a time when powerful women were seen. They were stand-outs, slightly cast-offish in their attitude. They presented themselves as if always in this bubble - safe from ridicule, yet elegantly powerful in their demeanor. They were different and it wasn’t put on. Women’s ideals were changing. It was actually safe to say that there were lesser ideals to follow. The modern woman was seen as liberated, different, daring, brave and perhaps vulgar at times. Vulgarity was subject to a myriad of perceptions. It was an easy deem for those who broke any sort of mold. The world was just getting way to comfortable - visually at least.
It was 1965 and the fashion world was just about to witness the slam-dunk of trend-forecasting - something Yves Saint Laurent was mastering at the time. The classic collections of YSL were to take a turn. They were to be reimagined. The late sixties called for statements - a time where freedom reigned. Designers were not falling short of this happening. They saw the magnitude of personal expression and began following this revolution. I would say that YSL was the first to make heads turn when he introduced his swinging fashion of the Mondrian Collection and the introduction of the revolutionary and ever-so-androgynous, the woman’s Tuxedo.
The Mondrian collection was first presented in Paris and later in London as an initial showcase of six cocktail dresses all inspired by the paintings of Dutch painter, Mondrian. The vibrant and loud color combinations really set the YSL name apart and became synonymous with irregular uses of color palates - the most interesting range of colors that would be presented together for the first time. We are not talking powdery shades, but the loudest form of block colors that would at times seem as if a person was wearing a Twister mat (as a basic later explained). The rave over these pieces didn’t really start in Paris, but during the launch of the collection in London later that year. If people were to associate the word swinging with the sixties, it would have had to be in London. Everything about it was swinging! The music, the fashion, the food, the vibes, the movements, the eras that were blossoming, the dawn of glam rock, the shocks of the androgynous, the need to take everything a step further. London is where the YSL Mondrian Collection sang! Every IT girl was to wear one, every woman who deemed herself different loved the freedom it gave her. Self expression was everywhere. The collection was a complete sell-out..GLOBALLY.
In comes the Androgynous. London was on fire! They embraced the new and they were not fearful of making heads turn. The age of Glam Rock was just beginning and the styles that this dawn brought were nothing less than shocking. Feminine and masculine styles woven together to create a new found fitting that was neither, but both - juxtaposing yet fluid in its style of soft masculinity with uber femininity. The boundaries (and I use this heavily) the gender and societal boundaries were so fluidly deteriorating. YSL, even for then, was seen as beyond his time, and yes I’ll say it, avant garde. His years as an understudy had bundled his own notions and beliefs for a later time - a time when he can create for the kind of woman he has yet to see.
What two words would you say, explains this?
The pinnacle of masculinity, the treasure of gentleman’s attire, The Tuxedo - was given to a woman. BOOM! Style was made eternal!
Originally published by Adel El-Assaad on www.kingdome.co.
Images courtesy of Made to Measure.