St. Laurent was hip and modern, he was inspired by Mondrian, Picasso, Braque, Matisse, Warhol, Wesselman and even Goya and Velazquez. Berge and St. Laurent understood that haute couture was a dying art and in 1966 started their own ready-to-wear line, a revolutionary move at the time. Their Rive Gauche boutiques sprung up like delicious mushrooms on the world's fashionable shopping streets, bringing the glamour of the happy few to a far larger public. YSL pants suits, safari jackets and the "smoking, " a man's dinner jacket adapted for slim, with-it ladies, were the ultimate fashion statement, much as Chanel's simple black dress had been in the 1930s. But St. Laurent also admired Schiaparelli's daring wit and executed workmen's smocks in satins and velvet, and designed bomber jackets to be worn over chiffon evening dresses. Quite justly, he was honored as the first living designer to merit a one-man show at the Metropolitan Museum's Costume Institute in 1983.
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