Whether we like to admit it or not, we are all influenced by fashion. We may not be aware of all the rules or knowingly follow the latest trends, but they seep into our everyday lives nonetheless. It is with our eyes and with our hearts that we acknowledge what style truly means to us, and thus we find ourselves drawn like a magnet to aesthetically pleasing shapes, cuts and colors. To be human is to appreciate beauty, and fashion is a beautiful expression of who and what we are.
There is one man in particular that understood completely the power of fashion as a form of expression. One of the greatest fashion designers of all time; Yves Saint Laurent is a French-Algerian born designer that has been credited with giving fashion a true voice back in the sixties. Through his use of non-European cultural references and dark-skinned models at a time when doing so had been unthinkable, he bravely challenged a set of unwritten rules. In breaking the boundaries and following his instinct, he successfully changed the world’s perception of fashion. Yves Saint Laurent channeled the bohemian vibe from his upbringing to break taboos of the fashion world. Suddenly, women were wearing suits and tuxedos; they were breaking convention and wearing what they wanted. It was no longer just a man’s world.
Like many of the greatest creative minds among us, YSL owes much of his individuality to the area he was brought up in. For a big part of his early life, Laurent lived in Benerville-sur-Mer, a small town at the heart of the Parisian Riviera. Luckily for Laurent, his hometown was a mere stone’s throw from Deauville, the true haute-couture capital of France, and it is to here you must travel if you are to understand the possibilities that exist when you don’t follow the rules.
In Deauville, the glitterati crowds have shunned the Parisian styles and dare to dress differently. This is the town where style is born, before the rest of the country, and the world, have had a chance to copy it. It is also a place that exhibits various forms of architecture, at once gothic and modern. Step into this quasi-Gothic world, starting with YSL’s Chateau Gabriel and discover something completely unique. Marcel Proust, another who pushed the boundaries of society, also stayed here, and the styles served as the perfect mesh of daring and conservative to influence YSL.
Now, we don’t know if Deauville fed YSL’s inspiration, or whether YSL fed Deauville’s, but what is certain, is that it is here that he was able to break free of the stubborn shackles of the fashion establishment. This is the place to question the status quo and redefine order. For YSL, if it was unthinkable, it was possible.