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Thursday, December 16, 2004



‘I turn black into a color’

-Yves Saint-Laurent-

‘Is it not a triumph, and an indisputable and complete achievement, when one is just 21 years of age and has displayed a shattering feat of arms? Is this a miracle? That is the question posed to oneself, while the defile of the first collection exclusively designed by Saint-Laurent occupies the stage at Christian Dior. A spirited, skillful and mature collection. Vogue would like to reveal her participation in this achievement.

Please allow us, dear Yves Mathieu Saint-Laurent to reread your letter of June the 24th 1954, which you sent us from Oran, Algeria. The letter was addressed to our director Michel de Brunhoff, who was among the first to discern your exceptional skills. You were 16 years old.
He advised you not to renounce your position as a philosophy undergraduate. You replied: ‘I shall wait for the results of my exams. And just as I hoped for, the results were more than satisfactorily. I’m looking forward to establish myself in Paris early next autumn. Perhaps my projects are too ambitious. Just as Christian (Dior), I would like to get involved with several things at once, which when combined, amount to just one thing: stage decors, theatrical costumes, decoration and illustration. On the other hand, I feel extremely attracted by fashion. The overall choice for my career will likely spring from a chance event in one or another of my creative possibilities..’

Do you remember the strict formal and technical education imposed on you by Brunhoff?
You were a draftsman, he would love to see you acquire knowledge of cutting.
In just one year, at the -Ecole de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture- you mastered your profession. Then Michel de Brunhoff personally ‘took little Saint-Laurent by the hand and introduced him to Dior...’ Thereby explaining to him that he had never witnessed a person more gifted than this young man. The occasion had been set: the rest, dear Saint-Laurent was in your own hands.

After three years of collaboration with Christian Dior, you were placed at the helm of the well tested machine that you inherited from him: his ‘Maison de la couture’. How savvy of you to embark on this adventure! Your designs were trusted to the loving care of Mme Raymonde, previously your exceptional patron’s assistant, and to Mme Marguerite, his technician. Your models, once realized were put to the imaginative scrutiny of Mme Bricard. Without doubt, to assist you- you have had at your disposal incomparable ‘collaboratrices’, but even they cannot sufficiently explain your success. Because after all, you were left onto your own, sitting before a blank sheet. That’s what it took to ordain ‘the new Morning Star’ which rose at the dawn of your first collection. The phenomenon Saint-Laurent succeeds the phenomenon Christian Dior’.


Adapted from: ‘Chez Christian Dior, son Dauphin a l’heure du succes’ – Vogue Francais Mars 1958


posted by Walter at 12/16/2004