Paris was abuzz with rumors before the first collection: “They didn't find enough money to finish the collection,”
“He didn't manage to do everything on his own”...
That Monday, a crowd showed up for the presentation of Yves Saint Laurent's first collection: La Comtesse de Paris, Princess Anne, la Baronne de Rothschild, Roland Petit, Geneviève Fath, Françoise Sagan, and all the fashion professionals were dazzled by what was to become a historic moment.
Yves Saint Laurent gave them more than just exceptional garments.
It was a unique style, already abundantly visible, tunics, sportswear elevated to the ranks of couture, the purity of the deconstruction, the associations of colors...
In the ensuing hubbub and applause, Yves Saint Laurent appeared from behind a curtain and broke down into tears in the dancer Zizi Jeanmaire's arms. He retreated into a storage space to escape the shoving crowd. Pierre Bergé attempted to organize the operations. “I will never forget that morning. I had developed a personal language that I tried to decrypt, I undrstood that something important had happened.”
After Yves Saint Laurent's trip to Japan, Pierre Bergé becomes interested in developing licenses. He has lunch in New York's Savoy with Richard Salomon, president of Charles of the Ritz, who proposes to create a perfume called 'Y' in exchange for royalties.Y was ubsequently launched in 1964.
“The best collection,” according to the New York Times. Yves Saint laurent is described as the “King of Paris” by Women's Wear Daily.
Yves Saint Laurent declared that he was “tired of making dresses for jaded millionnaires.”
The smoking would become a signature outfit in Yves Saint Laurent's collections.
[Yves saint Laurent] established a sartorial vocabulary for everyday life... like trousers, like the caban, like the pantsuit, the smoking, etc.
And this is not insignifant. In 1967, the smoking was, well, it was an explosion, it was a revolution! How could a woman take possession of this outfit which symbolizes masculinity itself.
- Pamela Golbin, curator at Paris' Fashion Museum
The first Rive Gauche boutique was opened at 21 rue de Tournon, in Paris' 6th arrondissement.
It was previously a bakery. Yves Saint Laurent called upon Isabelle Hebey to carry out the transformation: “I want a warm and contemporary boutique which people want to enter and in which people want to touch the wares.”
It was the first time that a couturier had created a ready-to-wear collection and opened a boutique outside of his salons. The “godmother” of the store was Catherine Deneuve who arrived in tights, mocassins and a caban with gold buttons.
The first Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche boutique in New York was opened in September 1968.
Rive Gauche for men was launched in 1969.
The first RG in London was opened in 1969.
The collection was partially inspired by primitive and African art. Harper's Bazaar of March 1967 described the garments as “a fantasy of primitive genius shells and jungle jewelry clustered to cover the bosom and hips, latticed to bare the midriff.”
Veruschka (née Comtesse Vera Gottlieb von Lehndorff) en saharienne, Vogue, photo Franco Rubartelli / Veruschka (née Comtesse Vera Gottlieb von Lehndorff) in the original safari jacket, Vogue, photo Franco Rubartelli
"I suddenly became conscious of the feminine body. I started to have a dialog with women and became aware of what it meant to be a modern woman."
Yves Saint Laurent
"Worn today in its more urban version, it was in its time more rugged, from the safari jacket to the military version borrowed from the Afrika Corps
The one we prefer was born in 1968, created by Yves Saint Laurent, a logical continuation of his African collection of 1967. This safari jacket was a total outsider, with only one copy made specially for a fashion spread in Vogue magazine, photographed by Franco Rubartelli. In the middle of the brush, worn by Veruschka, the sculptural muse on the eve of the seventies, the Saint Laurent safari jacket is more of a tunic than an outfit for hot countries...
Short, sexy, worn with a belt with a ring-shaped buckle, it embodied the manifesto of liberty that was shaking up wardrobes. In the wake of its speedy success, production of the Saint Laurent safari jacket was immediately started and it was sold in Rive Gauche boutiques the following season. The next year, Yves Saint Laurent was photographed in a safari jacket by Helmut Newton for the opening of his men's boutique on Rue de Tournon.
Virginie Mouza in Le Figaro