“Make me a fragrance that smells like love.”
“The most beautiful clothes that can dress a woman are the arms of the man she loves. But for those who haven’t had the fortune of finding this happiness, I am there.”
Yves Saint Laurent
The brand Dior does not need introductions. The genius behind the brand Christian Dior brought freshness into the world of haute couture and parfums. Before starting his own fashion house, “House of Dior” in 1946, Dior worked for Piguet, another famed name in the world of haute couture and parfums. He released his first line of collection in 1947, called “New Look” which revolutionized women’s dresses. Until then, because of the World War II, the fashion world saw designs which conserved fabric due to the rationed clothes. Christian Dior’s designs were feminine and gave the models more voluptuous look, and reestablished Paris as the centre of the fashion world after World War II. He was known to be a master at creating shapes and silhouettes. In 1947, Dior launched his first perfume, Miss Dior, named after the designer’s sister Catherine Dior.
The year 1955 is a milestone in the history of fashion. At age 18, the much talented young designer and prodigy, Yves Saint Laurent was introduced to Christian Dior who later hired him as an assistant in 1955. Yves Saint Laurent spent two years working with Christian Dior, learning from the master. It is evident that Dior was impressed with Saint Laurent’s work, in Dior’s words “Yves Saint Laurent is young, but he is an immense talent. In my last collection, I consider him to be the father of thirty-four out of the 180 designs. I think the time has come to reveal it to the press. My prestige won’t suffer from it.”. In Saint, Dior saw his own reflection. When Dior died in 1957, Saint Laurent became his successor as art director of Dior and the world’s youngest couturier at the age of 21.
Yves Saint Laurent was a champion of many things. He believed in diversity and was the first to hire non-white models, a thing unheard in the Paris haute couture scene until then. Supermodel Naomi Campbell credited Saint Laurent for helping her land a cover in Vogue and in her words “My first Vogue cover ever was because of this man, because when I said to him ‘Yves, they won’t give me a French Vogue cover, they won’t put a black girl on the cover’ and he was like ‘I’ll take care of that,’ and he did.” He is also known to have brought art and fashion together as he had a penchant for mixing artwork of Vincent Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso and the likes in his designs. Last but not the least, he is known to have done some of his own campaigns. In 1971, he posed nude for the advertisement of YSL Pour Homme, YSL’s first men’s fragrance. YSL known for the Black Opium perfume, with the original Opium perfume created in 1977, has top notes of fruits and spices and middle notes being floral and based notes being woody.
By now you would have guessed the “Master” and “Saint” mentioned in the title. In Saint, the master found a worthy disciple to pass on the secrets of fashion and fragrance.