In January 1971, Yves Saint Laurent presented his collection “Années quarante” or “Libération” as one of the couture fashion shows in Paris – and gave everyone in the fashion world plenty to talk about. The reason: his inspiration came from wartime fashion. Over 25 years after the end of the Second World War, the world was not yet ready for square shoulders, wedge heels and short dresses with V-necklines – all clear references to the time of Paris’s occupation.
“Paris’s ugliest collection”, was Eugenia Sheppard’s summary in the New York Post. Yet despite these negative reactions, the retro trend soon took over the streets. After the optimistic 60s, by the time the 70s arrived the time had come to start looking back. The young generation – all born during peacetime – was particularly taken by 40s’ fashion.
The new coffee-table book Yves Saint Laurent: The Scandal Collection, 1971 (published by Abrams) lets us look behind the scenes of this influential collection, ranging from Saint Laurent’s inspiration to the post-show press coverage. This “scandalous collection” is documented with illustrations and essays, personal interviews, archive photos of the show, the models and the designs, textile samples and sketches.