YSL Original

An ode to the costume jewelry of Yves Saint Laurent

Why Yves Saint Laurent?

Because in each of his pieces lives a bit of the Rive Gauche, and the spirit of independence that he gave to women. Because Yves Saint Laurent made the safari jacket and the tuxedo socially acceptable. And because he was a dreamer who sought perfection in beauty far beyond the bounds of reality. He was dashingly modern, unsurpassed in his mastery of color, and he took couture for a turn in 1966 when he sold his Rive Gauche collection off the rack in a chic boutique. For him, this was hardly a contradiction, since his couture collections transformed women into Russian farm women and Chinese opium den ladies. With Parisian flair, of course.

But a look is like an unloved woman, if it is withheld the accessories that convey opulence and sensuality like a tantalizing spice.

Saint Laurent drew inspiration from his muses, such as the grandiose Loulou de Falaise and the impetuous Betty Catroux. Anne-Marie Muñoz, whom he already knew from Dior, was the intellectual and the most important companion for the perfection of the collection.

Loulou had an admirable sense for proportion in accessories and always knew how to turn imagination into reality. The result was a trademark style that was very Saint Laurent but also perfectly Loulou. Long before the term “vintage” became part of the vernacular, she would saunter through the flea market in Saint-Ouen and cull ideas for her signature Saint Laurent creations.

Sometimes it was cascades of coins and seashells that she draped around women’s necks, or colorful plastic Pop Art stars. Baroque opulence was as much embraced as the simplicity of a single gold cord. From Chinese medallions to glass teardrops and link chains, she mixed it all together to fashion adornments of eternal beauty.

Now as then, these pieces are timeless and fitting to any look. A white blouse, jeans, and a Saint Laurent accessory: take on the world in perfection!

It’s as if the old stories from Saint Laurent’s circle would live on in these “trinkets” and continue to radiate their aura. The most beautiful specimens were produced between 1962, the debut of the sensitive genius under his own label, until 1982, for Maison Denez in Rue du Temple. Brigitte Boucherie knew well how to realize the designs with delicacy, reviving and reinterpreting materials that were no longer in common use.

It was said that she could read the minds of Yves and Loulou, as she envisioned for the next season how the streets of the metropolis would be filled with Berber women or toreros. Madame Boucherie made dreams come alive.

Why Yves Saint Laurent!

Because once there was a boy of ten, who did not dare to enter a modern and sophisticated store marked Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche, where the sole décor was a tasseled handbag, a few gloves in fawn-brown suede, and an opulent collier made with African ebony. The boy felt a great urge to ask for a catalogue with photographs of those beautiful things, so that he could take these paragons of elegance home with him.

After some time, a lovely woman emerged from the shop with a smile. It was the saleswoman, who had been observing me.

I stated my request, and, without a word, she went inside. She returned with the greatest treasure that I could fathom: the longed-for brochure.

That was the day on which I realized that the dreams of Yves Saint Laurent would inspire me for a lifetime, enchanting me with their magic.

These are works of art that reverberate with unbridled freedom through the personality of the women who wear them.