Yves Saint Laurent was born in Algeria in 1936, and expressed an interest in fashion from an early age. He went to work for Christian Dior in 1954. After Dior's death in 1957, Saint Laurent, at the age of 21, became the haute couture designer for the house. In 1960, he was dismissed while on compulsory military service.
Saint Laurent founded his own line in 1962. His fashion innovations are too numerous to list here, but he popularized tuxedos and stylish pantsuits for women, peasant blouses and safari jackets; Vogue has called him "arguably the industry's greatest designer". He retired from ready-to-wear (the Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche label) in 1999 when the Yves Saint Laurent house was sold to Gucci, and retired from haute couture in 2002. Saint Laurent passed away in 2008.
Stefano Pilati replaced Tom Ford as Yves Saint Laurent's creative director in 2004. In 2012, Pilati was replaced by Hedi Slimane. In 2016, Slimane was replaced with Anthony Vaccarello.
The Yves Saint Laurent fragrance license is owned by L'Oreal.
The YSL fragrance line has been prolific. Their first fragrance was Yves Saint Laurent Y (1964). The best known fragrances are probably Rive Gauche (1971), the now iconic Opium (1977) and Paris (1983). Other releases include Yves Saint Laurent Pour Homme (1971), Kouros (1981), Jazz (1988), Champagne (1993, famously renamed Yvresse after the label lost a lawsuit filed by the French wine industry), In Love Again (1998), Baby Doll (1999), Nu (2001), M7 (2002), Rive Gauche Pour Homme (2003), Cinema (2004).
In 2011, 8 older Yves Saint Laurent fragrances were released in new packaging under the name La Collection YSL (In Love Again, Nu, Yvresse, Y, Jazz, Pour Homme, Rive Gauche Pour Homme and M7 Oud Absolu).
Recent mainstream fragrances from Yves Saint Laurent
Recent mainstream fragrances include L'Homme Yves Saint Laurent (2006), YSL Young Sexy Lovely (2006), Elle Yves Saint Laurent (2007), Parisienne (2009), Saharienne (2011), Manifesto (2012), Noble Leather, Supreme Bouquet & Majestic Rose (2013), Splendid Wood (2014), Magnificent Blossom (2015), Le Vestiaire des Parfums Tuxedo, Caban, Saharienne, Trench & Caftan (2015), Exquisite Musk (2016), Cuir, Vinyle & Velours (2016), Exquisite Embroidery, Magnificent Gold & Sleek Suede (2017), Y for men (2017), 24 Rue de l’Université, 37 Rue de Bellechasse & 6 Place Saint Sulpice (2017), Blouse (2018), Grain de Poudre (2019), Libre (2019).
Recent flanker fragrances from Yves Saint Laurent
Recent limited edition and flanker fragrances include Paris Eau de Printemps (2002), Paris Premieres Roses (2003).
2007: YSL Love Sprays, Opium Orchidee de Chine Eau d'Orient & Opium Pour Homme Eau d'Orient, Paris Jardins Romantiques, L’Homme Yves Saint Laurent Eau d’Été, Kouros Tattoo Collector, Cinéma Festival d'Été, Paris Nuit de Fete
2008: Paris Pont des Amours, Opium Poesie de Chine Eaux d'Orient, L'Homme Yves Saint Laurent Eau d’Été 2008, Elle Yves Saint Laurent Summer Fragrance 2008, Cinéma Scénario d’été, Baby Doll Magic, Elle Intense
Where to buy
Yves Saint Laurent fragrances can be found at department stores and online fragrance discounters.
See all articles on Now Smell This tagged Yves Saint Laurent.
Read Yves Saint Laurent, Fashion Icon, Dies at 71 at the New York Times.