Monday, June 2, 2008

Mourning Yves


I remember the precise moment when I learned of the death of River Phoenix. I was still in college, a junior, and the news blasted over the radio and hit me like a 2 ton six wheeler, blaring horns and all. The same happened the following year, when Kurt Cobain died, and then several years later, after that fateful night when Princess Diana's car crashed in the tunnel in Paris.

I know that Yves Saint Laurent's passing should be less of a shock, considering his failing health for so many years. Rumors of a debilitating stroke, his most recent public appearances where he could barely move, hardly speak. It isn't.

There is no doubt that YSL, for me, was best able to capture the role of a designer, articulate it, and for many years, show this keen understanding through his collections. “I know now that you can’t take your clothes out of life, away from reality, and have them mean anything. A designer must get out and look at life around him," he said.

It has always been ironic that Tom Ford is the single designer, apart from Saint Laurent, who so keenly understood this role. Ford, who succeeded YSL at Rive Gauche, had always been shunned by the maestro, and never spoke with him, as I understand.

How will YSL be remembered? I hope, not for his waning years, his failed health, his agonized departure from his house, but for what he did to fashion, how he revolutionized the concept of clothing for women. I hope that he will be remembered as that wunderkind who inspired a generation of young people to study design. Or, as the man who was brave enough to put a face, and a body, to a label.

1 comment:

Perry Ellis Fan said...

"I know now that you can’t take your clothes out of life, away from reality..."

This is an interesting topic.

Tom Ford talks about his job being when customers look at his garment, they just have to have it.

YSL clothing, the symmetry in his tailoring, etc. was other worldly sometimes. This is what made it special.

I hope there is room for this type of design or art.