Yves Saint Laurent
Yves Saint Laurent moved to Paris from Algeria where he was born in 1936. He was apprenticed with the House of Dior in 1954 at the remarkably young age of 18. When Dior died in 1957, the crown was passed to this exceedingly young man who must have stunned the fashion world by taking over such an esteemed French fashion houses.
He wasted no time in producing collections that were seen as pretty maverick and having made quite a name for himself, exploited it by leaving Dior in 1961 to open his own fashion house to launch his first YSL couture clothing collection the following year. He introduced France to the beatnik look, which was regarded as supremely chic.
Having built up his business, YSL Enterprises was purchased by Lanvin-Charles leaving Saint Laurent free to turn his focus to prêt a porter fashion and accessories. He opened his first boutique in 1966, naming it YSL/Rive Gauche boutique store and wasted no time in expanding throughout the world. It was in the early 70's that he introduced jewellery and enhanced his career even further. As he entered his 40's in the mid 70's he had built a fashion empire of significance. He was generous in citing other designers who he felt influenced his own designs, one of which was Elsa Schiaparelli, who he made no secret of being a massive fan of her jewellery design abilities, spotting a fellow maverick. He also admired the jewellery collections from the House of Chanel.