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Born in 1936 in Algeria, Yves Saint Laurent is one of the most important designers of the 20th century. Made famous for le smoking (a tuxedo jacket for women), sheer clothing, safari suits, pussy-bow blouses, absolute style and attention to detail, Yves was one of the first couturiers to embrace ready-to-wear fashion, launching his Rive Gauche shops in 1966. Early in his career, he counted Karl Lagerfeld as a contemporary and Christian Dior as a mentor. In 1957 Yves was chosen by Dior as his successor, in anticipation of his death, and so Yves became head designer of the fashion house at the lucky age of 21. In the early 60s, Yves started his own eponymous label with his business partner Pierre Bergé, owning the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s with consistently supreme collections in which he introduced the styles listed above and secured his name as one of the most elegant designers of all time. In 1998 Yves and Pierre passed the gauntlet to Alber Elbaz, appointing him designer for Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche. Later, when Gucci Group purchased the label in 1999, Tom Ford took over, followed by Stefano Pilati, and most recently Hedi Slimane in 2012, who has brought the house back to its roots of masculine tailoring, adding his own rock n roll personality to the cut, and rebranding accordingly to ‘Saint Laurent Paris’.

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