Yves Saint Laurent was the first Couture house to launch, in 1966, the modern concept of luxury women's prêt-à-porter, in a collection called « Rive Gauche ». It was followed in 1969 by a « Rive Gauche » men's ready-to-wear line. The Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche boutiques were soon opened throughout the world, allowing fashion-conscious working individuals to wear the Yves Saint Laurent designs. This represented the first step in making luxury labels accessible to a wider public.
In 1999, the Gucci Group (the luxury division of the PPR Group) acquired Yves Saint Laurent. Since then the brand has been repositioned at the top end of the luxury goods markets. Under the management of Valérie Hermann, appointed CEO in 2005, and Stefano Pilati, Creative Director since 2004, the brand has renewed the exceptional legacy of its founder while bringing a contemporary approach to its collections, which combine elegance, top-quality fabrics, refined and discreet but recognizable details.
Today Yves Saint Laurent's collections include women's and men's ready-to-wear, shoes, handbags, small leather goods, jewellery, scarves, ties and eyewear. They are designed for both modern women who have a keen sense of freedom and follow their instincts with assurance, captivating others with their elegance, as well as men who prefer a nonconformist look and assert the different facets of their personality in a modern and sensitive way.
The Yves Saint Laurent network currently has 63 directly-operated stores, including flagship stores in Paris, New York, London, Milan, Hong Kong and Tokyo. The brand is also present in the most prestigious multi-brand boutiques and department stores in the world.