The History of YSL Jewellery
Yves Saint Laurent was not only a fashion designer but also an artist. He was well-known for embracing the feminine and masculine to create modern classics that revolutionised the fashion industry. Yves Saint Laurent jewellery is no exception - unique and beautiful collectors items that stand the test of time.
Born in North Africa in 1936, Yves Saint Laurent is one of the world’s most revered and influential designers. His African heritage inspired a fascination with tribal culture and lead to his exotic, extravagant colourful designs standing in stark contrast to the stuffy French designers of the time.
He was hired to be Christian Dior’s assistant in 1957, it wasn’t long before he was designing most of Dior's costume jewellery. Before long he became head designer at Dior at the age of 21 when Christian died unexpectedly in 1957.
He established his own label in 1961 becoming famous for his trouser suits, the safari suit and Le smoking (tuxedo). For jewellery, Saint Laurent turned to jewellery greats such as Goossens and Schemama to design for him.
The Beginnings of Yves Saint Laurent Jewellery
Yves Saint Laurent launched his first jewelry collection in 1965, which was designed to complement his ready-to-wear line. His designs were inspired by the motifs and patterns found in the art and cultures of Africa, China, and India. His designs were unique and vibrant, featuring bright colors, bold shapes, and intricate patterns. He used unusual materials such as wood, glass, enamel, and leather in his designs, which set him apart from other designers of the time.
He lead the way in cultural diversity by incportaing tribal culture into haute couture and jewellery. He was never afraid to mix modern and natural materials - shells, crystals, leather and wood with metal and bakelite. His iconic Africa 67 collection incorporated Massai inspired jewellery.
In the 1970s, he continued to be inspired by the natural world, producing some wonderfully rich pieces - including the iconic 1975 coral collection.
Yves Saint Laurent had many muses, many of them women of colour. Perhaps the most famous was Loulou de La Falaise who joined in 1972.
YSL's jewelry designs from the 1970s were characterized by their bold, oversized shapes, and use of rich materials such as gold, silver, and precious stones. The pieces often incorporated elements of nature, with designs featuring leaves, flowers, and other organic shapes.
LouLou de La Malaise joined the fashion house in 1972 and became responsible for jewellery. She shares Yves love of the natural world - her designs were creative and colourful, extravagant even innovation and creativity.
One of the most iconic pieces from YSL's 1970s jewelry collection is the "Loulou" necklace. The necklace features a bold, oversized gold chain with a large tassel pendant at the center, made from strands of delicate gold chains. The Loulou necklace was an instant hit when it was first released, and it remains a highly coveted collector's item today.
Another iconic piece from YSL's 1970s collection is the "Opium" necklace, inspired by the designer's fascination with exotic cultures and his love of Orientalism. The necklace features a large, ornate pendant in the shape of a tassel, adorned with beads, crystals, and pearls. The Opium necklace was famously worn by Catherine Deneuve in YSL's controversial Opium perfume ads, which were banned in several countries for their suggestive content.
Other notable pieces from YSL's 1970s jewelry collection include the "Cage" necklace, which features a large, geometric pendant made from gold wire, and the "Muse" bracelet, a bold, sculptural piece that wraps around the wrist like a piece of armor.
YSL's 1970s jewelry designs were emblematic of the era's love of excess and opulence, with their oversized shapes and lavish use of precious materials. However, they also reflected the designer's love of art and his desire to create wearable works of art that were both beautiful and thought-provoking. Today, YSL's 1970s jewelry pieces remain highly collectible and continue to inspire new generations of designers and fashion lovers.
In the 1980s, Yves Saint Laurent continued to create stunning jewelry designs that reflected the fashion trends and cultural movements of the era. While his designs in the 1970s were characterized by their bold, oversized shapes and opulent materials, his jewelry pieces in the 1980s featured a more refined, minimalist aesthetic.
One of YSL's most iconic jewelry designs from the 1980s was the "Belle de Jour" bracelet, inspired by his 1967 film of the same name. The bracelet featured a sleek, minimalist design, with a simple gold bangle and a square clasp adorned with the YSL logo.
Another notable design from YSL's 1980s jewelry collection was the "Tassel" necklace, which featured a long, delicate chain with a large tassel pendant at the center. The tassel pendant was made from strands of delicate gold chains and adorned with tiny crystals and pearls, giving the necklace a delicate, feminine feel.
YSL also experimented with new materials in his jewelry designs in the 1980s, incorporating pieces made from resin, wood, and other unconventional materials. The "Cubist" collection, for example, featured bold, geometric shapes made from lacquered wood and metal, while the "Matisse" collection featured colorful, abstract shapes made from resin.
Yves Saint Laurent Jewellery in the 1990s
In the 1990s, Yves Saint Laurent continued to create beautiful statement pieces that were a reflection of the changing times. In the early 1990s, Saint Laurent found aclaim from those that rejected grunge for the groomed minimalist aesthetic. This era saw big, bold gold pieces, less ornate and colourful than the 80s era of power dressing. The heart continued to be an important icon. The later 90s was the era of logo mania and we see this with the statement cuffs and chunky chains of the time, with the YSL logo front and centre.
Some of the most iconic pieces from this era include the "Maison Collection," which was launched in 1992. The collection was a tribute to the Parisian house of Yves Saint Laurent and featured designs that were inspired by the brand's logo. The collection was a mix of simple and elegant designs, with many pieces featuring the iconic "YSL" logo.
Yves Saint Laurent was a fashion icon who revolutionized the fashion industry with his designs. His jewelry pieces were no exception, with the brand offering unique and beautiful pieces that stand out in the jewelry industry. Yves Saint Laurent's jewelry designs were always ahead of their time, and they continue to be relevant and sought after by collectors today. The brand's pieces are a testament to the creativity and artistry of Yves Saint Laurent, and they remain a source of inspiration for many designers today.