The mad genius of fashion reports that designer Yves Saint Laurent died on Sunday, aged 71.

Among other things, Saint Laurent was known for dressing women in sheer blouses. I didn’t know this sort of thing was tolerated on Youtube, but technically I suppose these models are wearing shirts.

Saint Laurent was also pivotal in allowing women to dress in pantsuits. (Really — it wasn’t so long ago that women wore only dresses, never pants!) Also for making designer clothing available to ordinary women.

Saint Laurent was so revered in the world of fashion, no one seems to be mentioning his mental health issues. But I remember seeing Saint Laurent interviewed by Jeanne Bekker on Fashion Television, and he was a bundle of odd mannerisms:  his face turned at an odd angle to the camera, his hand twitching in front of his face (obstructing the view of the camera), his tongue darting out at the corner of his mouth. For such a public figure, he seemed extraordinarily uncomfortable in the spotlight.

Bekker does mention, in the FT celebration of Saint Laurent’s 30th anniversary as a designer, that he had a breakdown in 1960 after being inducted into the French army. But none of the eulogies I’ve seen make any mention of ongoing mental health issues.

Regardless, Saint Laurent was a visionary and a creative genius in his field. The clothing he designed was elegant. He serves as a reminder that people with mental health issues need not be defined by them.


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Ilona
    Jun 04, 2008 @ 07:25:06

    I remember my grandparents talking about the time when slacks for women were coming into vogue. My grandmother (who frequently wore pants, but never jeans) recited a rhyme from the time, “Women in slacks should look to their backs” — meaning that pants weren’t particularly flattering to a woman’s behind.

    Grandad sagely noted that the designers were inexperienced back then, and that tailoring for the woman’s curves has improved considerably since then. Much to everyone’s satisfaction. 🙂


  2. Zayna
    Jun 04, 2008 @ 17:33:53


    I was watching the video and over my shoulder Hubby asks…”What’s that?”

    Immediately he answers his own question…”Oh, boobies!”

    and then adds “What’s his site again?”


  3. Chris
    Jun 04, 2008 @ 17:45:57

    “but technically I suppose these models are wearing shirts.”

    Hey! We live in Ontario, these women could have gone up topless legally speaking!

    Haven’t commented here before – but wifey nearly peed her self laughing when I blurted out the “Oh, boobies!” comment from the peanut gallery.

    I’ve added you to my blog-roll. Husbands of like wives need to stick together for sanity’s sake…


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