The Yves Saint Laurent fashion house (named after its founder) has a history that spans back to the early 1960s, when the brand first started producing its first haute couture collections. In 2015, the company re-released that line, quickly leading to its current position as one of the top-selling luxury bag-makers in the world. The brand has traditionally been known for creating iconic fashion pieces for both the men’s and women’s fashion sector.
Today, they continue to be one of the top-sellers of luxury leather goods, bags, jewellery, and shoes. Below, we’ll take a look at some of the factors that influenced and contributed towards Saint Laurent’s ascent to the top of the luxury bag industry.
A Quick History of the Brand’s Foundation
The brand itself was founded in 1961, but if you were to look for the key moment when Saint Laurent became a household name, you’d have to revisit their 1966 release of what was perhaps the most iconic women’s tuxedo jacket of all-time — the Le Smoking suit. From then on, they played a central role in popularizing a number of mainstream fashion styles throughout the late ’60s and early ’70s, including the beatnik look, the thigh-high boots trend, women’s safari jackets, and of course, Saint Laurent bags. In this manner, the brand helped shape an iconic era in fashion that’s still occasionally portrayed in the media and films of today. However, the company did experience a downturn in popularity during the 1990s. By 1999, the brand had been sold to Gucci, which was owned by PPR at the time. Backed by Kering — A Fashion Powerhouse
Today, both Saint Laurent and Gucci are owned by Kering, the same company that owns Balenciaga and a number of other highly influential luxury clothing and fashion brands. Kering is an international luxury goods conglomerate based in Paris. They own a plethora of leading brands and were previously known as Painult-Printemps-Redoute (PPR). The company started around the same time Saint Laurent did — back in 1963 — but they weren’t dealing in fashion. Instead, the brand was operating out of a store called Établissements Pinault in Brittany, France, where it sold lumber products. However, in the 1990s a corporate merger with CFAO increased the rate at which the firm began acquiring other retail businesses, leading to them becoming the global powerhouse that they are today.
Catering to a Demographic that Grew Up with Saint Laurent
As mentioned, the brand really got its start during a time when today’s baby boomers were just starting to take interest in fashion. Today, many of those same consumers have gained affluence and are in the market for luxury goods like handbags, so when they see the Saint Laurent name on a handbag, they’re more likely to consider a purchase than when they encounter an entirely new brand that started in this generation and which they’ve never even heard of. This pre-built reputation played in the company’s favour when they decided to break into the bag-making market with highly profitable results. It’s always easier to establish a brand as a leader in a niche when there are already people who are familiar with it worldwide. If you want to invest in a Saint Laurent bag, you can do so at sites like SSENSE.
Fashionistas Have Always Praised Saint Laurent’s Approach to Handbag Design
A quick look at this post that lists the most memorable Saint Laurent bags of all time indicates just how much the brand has been cherished and appreciated by handbag aficionados for decades. Fom their earliest black velvet tambourine bags of the ’70s to their more innovative ‘book-bags’ which look nothing like a conventional book bag, but instead are a small, firm-framed handbag that is styled in the shape of a book carrier. Obviously, the aesthetics and functionality of a bag have to be able to speak for themselves just as much as the brand name or logo can, so the fast-growing popularity of Saint Laurent in the handbag space is mostly due to great designs coming out of this timeless fashion house.
Different Ownership, Same Iconic Style
Despite the fact that the brand isn’t still spearheaded by its founder, Yves Saint Laurent, the spirit of his approach to fashion design still lives on in each of the lines that they release today. However, you’ll also notice a modern and contemporary twist to many of the older styles that the brand was known for in the ’70s and ’80s. You can see this sort of fusion coming to life in some of their most popular bags, such as the Kate, Loulou, Envelop, and Wallet style bags. Likewise, their Panier, Manhattan, and Noe-style tote bags display the classical large bag variety that was popular in the company’s early goings. Ultimately, Saint Laurent’s tendency to produce bags in all sorts of shapes and sizes is the one notable trait that has undeniably lived on in their collection throughout the years.