At the dawn of every fashionable creation, is material. Tangible, tactile, it comes before everything else. Precedes shape.
Ignites imagination. Each fragrance reinterprets the legendary aesthetic of the iconic materials revered by Yves Saint Laurent.
Velvet, "velours" in French, is an ancient and precious fabric which texture, a skin-like mesmerizing softness, gives it an almost erotic connotation.
Far from confining it to a classical use, Mr Yves Saint Laurent dared to twist the folkloric inspirations of Parisian elegance by playing on the opposition between the matte effect of shorn velvet and the brightness of coloured appliqués or golden embroideries. In deep black or midnight blue, its capacity to absorb the light makes it the ideal fabric for eveningwear.
Magical and sumptuous, velvet is a revered evening centrepiece, conjuring up the image of vanilla with its dreamy nocturnal scent. Its smooth, luxurious ease has a languorous beauty. It is at once animalic, and smooth, a slow and measured mingling of creamy and sharp scents. With their incandescent imprints, the dark smoky rings of the black tea accord offer up a sensual incense, rippling through vanilla like folds in fabric. Velvety, the amber accord comes out of the shadows and subdues this exuberant mixture. Immemorial, solar and mysterious, it wraps those rich curves into a warm harmony; matte fibrous woods with a comforting quilt underneath.
Referred to as "cuir" in French, leather is well and truly a second skin. Amboguous play between masculinity and feminity, preciosity and pop culture, chic and rock'n'roll.
At once a luxurious, redolent and protective material, its animal origin conjures a virile sensuality. Mr Yves Saint Laurent expressed his passion for this particular material from the very start of his career, by daring to combine shiny leather with the luxurious softness of fur. But he also used it to add a touch of seductive mystery to his long trench coats destined to men and women or to girdle women's legs that the 1960's unveiled at last, thanks to the introduction of the mini-skirt.
CUIR carries the complete effect of a second skin while abandoning the formatted lines of a masculine or feminine style. Its strong and prominent accents play on a mix of influences. The incursion of rebel rum notes breaks with the traditional rules of what’s expected. The distinguished patina of tobacco takes on a sexually ambiguous lust. Like the lining on a leather jacket, fierce saffron sharply reveals itself, accentuating the vigour of the leather. Electrified by the warmth of a zingy ginger, the black tea appears, sheathed in a rich smoky halo. The oud wood unfolds its power, rich and meaningful. Mirroring the worn-down chrome studs that softly punctuate bikers’ jackets, the matt texture of gaiac wood enhances the dark and mysterious expression of the trail.
A synthetic material, vinyl (“vinyle” in French) in the 1960's epitomised the modernity and insolence of a youth that wished to propel the world into the future.
In its coloured interpretation, vinyl allowed Mr Yves Saint Laurent to inject a dose of pop energy in the coats he designed, thereby connecting Haute Couture to the audacity of the streets. But he also knew how to turn an elegant trench coat into an object of fantasy, endowing its male or female wearer with the spellbinding allure of black glazed vinyl. Nocturnal wanders and countless adventures suddenly had a new companion.
Vinyle is an avant-garde trail in which material morphs into a mirror, opaque in its insolence. Shiny, the immortelle flower emerges in an instant, sharp in its iridescence, and then plunges deep amidst the warm and deep resin of the myrrh. The pink pepper deconstructs the plasticity, endowing it with a cold edginess. A swatch of sparkling and intriguing bergamot orange floats freely. The shimmering anise emboldens its enigmatic presence. Transgressive, it multiplies into infinite varnished reflections, changing its form on a whim according to whatever it attaches itself to: voluptuous under the animalic drive of vanilla, extrovert under the supple roundness of the myrrh, more provocative and syrupy once in contact with the styrax and opoponax balms - like a smooth and languid honey rain that embraces nude skin.