Fashion: Electrochic

It's 40 years since Yves Saint Laurent made his first collection for Christian Dior. But with a little help from Kate Moss and photographer Juergen Teller, the master proves as electrifying as ever. By Tamsin Blanchard

In 1971, Yves Saint Laurent posed nude for the photographer Jeanloup Sieff for the first advertising image for YSL For Men fragrance. It was a brave thing for a designer to reveal himself to the world, especially a designer who made couture for some of the world's most expensive women. But then Yves was used to making strong statements.

He was the first designer to take over at the house of Dior after Christian Dior died in 1957. He was just 21, and the hot new talent in Paris. In 1960, he gave Dior customers a taste of what was to come almost 40 years later by turning the house of Dior into turmoil with the Beat collection, inspired by the Left Bank students who hung around coffee bars wearing black and discussing existential poetry. It was the first time a couturier had been inspired by what was happening on the street and the customers could not quite understand why they would want to look like deluxe students in crocodile jackets and black turtlenecks. Like all the best fashion designers, he was a man before his time.

When he launched his own label in 1962, Saint Laurent was at fashion's cutting edge, making clothes that were as shocking and innovative at the time as Alexander McQueen's are today. In 1966, his smoking suit became an instant classic and the same year, he became friends with Andy Warhol and based his autumn '67 collection around Pop art. The following year came the safari look, still copied today, along with many of Yves's original ideas.

This year, Yves Saint Laurent, now aged 61, celebrates 40 years as a designer since his first collection for Dior was unveiled in 1958. Who says fashion designers have to be young and arrogant to set the pace? Yves Saint Laurent has been at it for almost half a century, and somehow still manages to be out at the front. Ever since his smoking suits were photographed by Helmut Newton in the Seventies, the designer has been a source of fascination for fashion stylists as well as other designers who love to pay homage to Yves. No other living designer has quite the respect and legendary status; he has, after all, done it all. But he is far from complacent. In the programme notes for his recent haute couture collection in Paris, he wrote: "It has taken me 40 years to find myself, and sometimes I am still looking."

One sure way of keeping ahead of the game is to commission the 34-year-old, German-born photographer Juergen Teller to create the advertising campaign for the Rive Gauche label. He was given the brief "electrochic" to throw a fresh eye on the YSL image. Teller's work appears on the pages of fashion publications including i-D, The Face, Dazed & Confused, Italian, British and American Vogue and Interview. The photographer most associated with Saint Laurent is, of course, Helmut Newton, although Mario Testino, Arthur Elgort and Gian Paulo Barbieri have all worked on campaigns for the company. But Teller's new-look YSL for both men and women is a fresh departure - hard, sexy, glossy and modern.

In March, an exhibition opens in New York, "Yves Saint Laurent - 40 years of creativity", featuring the work of some of the leading lights of fashion photography - Mario Testino, David Seidner, Juergen Teller, Mario Sorrenti, Nathaniel Goldberg, and Nick Knight -- who have been commissioned to recreate famous images of Saint Laurent's work. Their photographs aside, the show, expected to go on tour later in the year, will be as much a tribute to the work of Helmut Newton as to the couturier himself.

Juergen Teller's solo exhibition at The Photographer's Gallery, Newport Street, London WC2, opens this spring

Previous page black jersey shirt, pounds 415, and metal loop belt, pounds 370, both by Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche, available from 137 New Bond Street, London W1 (0171-493 1800), and 33 Sloane Street, London SW1 (0171-235 6706)

Left brown single-breasted wool jacket (part of suit), pounds 720, and cream shirt, pounds 320, both by Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche, available from 33 Sloane Street, London SW1 (0171-235 5839)

Right Black and white polka dot chiffon halter-neck blouse, pounds 405, by Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche, as before

Full-length belted raincoat, pounds 750, black shirt, from pounds 225, trousers, from pounds 165 all by Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche, as before.

Pink strappy sandals, pounds 195, by Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche women as before

Styling womenswear: Venetia Scott

Styling, menswear: Hedi Slimane

Hair: Ward at Calliste

Models: Kate Moss and Ben Jackson

Arts and Entertainment
books
News
Dr Alice Roberts in front of a
people
Voices
Nigel Farage arrives for a hustings event at The Oddfellows Hall in Ramsgate on Tuesday
voicesA defection that shows who has the most to fear from the rise of Ukip
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and the Dalek meet
tvReview: Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Sport
Diego Costa
footballEverton 3 Chelsea 6: Diego Costa double has manager purring
Arts and Entertainment
The 'three chords and the truth gal' performing at the Cornbury Music Festival, Oxford, earlier this summer
music... so how did she become country music's hottest new star?
Life and Style
The spy mistress-general: A lecturer in nutritional therapy in her modern life, Heather Rosa favours a Byzantine look topped off with a squid and a schooner
fashionEurope's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln
Voices
Caustic she may be, but Joan Rivers is a feminist hero, whether she likes it or not
voicesShe's an inspiration, whether she likes it or not, says Ellen E Jones
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Star turns: Montacute House
tv
News
i100Steve Carell selling chicken, Tina Fey selling saving accounts and Steve Colbert selling, um...
Arts and Entertainment
Unsettling perspective: Iraq gave Turner a subject and a voice (stock photo)
booksBrian Turner's new book goes back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Some of the key words and phrases to remember
booksA user's guide to weasel words
Life and Style
Brave step: A live collection from Alexander McQueen whose internet show crashed because of high demand
fashionAs the collections start, Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    IT Teacher

    £22000 - £33000 per annum: Randstad Education Leeds: ICT TeacherLeedsRandstad ...

    Graduate C#.NET Developer (TDD, ASP.NET, SQL)

    Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Graduate C#.NET Developer (TDD, ASP.NET, SQL) Su...

    Junior SQL DBA (SQL Server 2012, T-SQL, SSIS) London - Finance

    £30000 - £33000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Junior SQL DBA...

    C# Web Developer (ASP.NET, JavaScript, MVC-4, HTML5) London

    £35000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Web Develop...

    Day In a Page

    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
    The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

    The model for a gadget launch

    Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
    Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
    Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

    Get well soon, Joan Rivers

    She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
    Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

    A fresh take on an old foe

    Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
    Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

    Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

    As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
    Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

    Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

    ... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
    Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

    Europe's biggest steampunk convention

    Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
    Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

    Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

    Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
    Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

    Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

    The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor
    She's dark, sarcastic, and bashes life in Nowheresville ... so how did Kacey Musgraves become country music's hottest new star?

    Kacey Musgraves: Nashville's hottest new star

    The singer has two Grammys for her first album under her belt and her celebrity fans include Willie Nelson, Ryan Adams and Katy Perry
    American soldier-poet Brian Turner reveals the enduring turmoil that inspired his memoir

    Soldier-poet Brian Turner on his new memoir

    James Kidd meets the prize-winning writer, whose new memoir takes him back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
    Aston Villa vs Hull match preview: Villa were not surprised that Ron Vlaar was a World Cup star

    Villa were not surprised that Vlaar was a World Cup star

    Andi Weimann reveals just how good his Dutch teammate really is
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef ekes out his holiday in Italy with divine, simple salads

    Bill Granger's simple Italian salads

    Our chef presents his own version of Italian dishes, taking in the flavours and produce that inspired him while he was in the country
    The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

    The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

    If supporters begin to close bank accounts, switch broadband suppliers or shun satellite sales, their voices will be heard. It’s time for revolution