“We must never confuse elegance with being a snob" A the age of 17, Saint Laurent was already working beside Dior, whom he succeeded in 1957, until establishing his own maison in 1962 together with his business and life partner Pierre Bergè. Since then, the brand continued to grow in fame and prestige, becoming a symbol of elegance and continued innovation: he was the first to enliven fashion by drawing inspiration and tips “from the street”, and it was his intuition that led to transfer some men’s garments into women’s wardrobes. He caused a stir with his first collection, audacious and full of grit, very non-politically correct towards the sartorial conformism of the time. The designer was most of all the precursor of that process of mixing fashion with art and painting (about which he was always passionate) and also folklore, theatre and literature. It’s not by chance that Saint Laurent was the first maison to be given a retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum of New York. Driven by a boost of vitality and explosive passion, Saint Laurent was in any case able to wisely proportion his multiform creativity and transform it into genial commercial intuition. In 1999 the brand was acquired by Gucci: Tom Ford curated pret-a-porter and Saint Laurent haute-couture. The maison was closed in 2002, but through Gucci the brand lives on: Stefano Pilati succeeded Tom Ford, whilst Yves Saint Laurent died in 2008, after a long illness.