Unlike Gucci and Louis Vuitton, whose luxury lines started in making luggage and leather goods for the aristocracy, Yves Saint Laurent started in haute couture. For this reason, you’ll often hear him referred to as a “couturier” (like on the luxury group Kering’s website) rather than just a “designer.” Even now, the house of this style revolutionary holds its place in the fashion world, and Yves Saint Laurent handbags are no exception.
As recounted in Flux Magazine, French-Algerian born Yves Saint Laurent showed early interest in fashion and studied with Christian Dior at a young age. In 1961, he branched out with the help of partner Pierre Bergé to create the label we know and covet today.
Yves Saint Laurent pioneered many looks that are part of the style lexicon today, but he may be best known for his Le Smoking—the suit that brought tuxedo elegance to women. We can see elements of this fashion philosophy in the iconic Yves Saint Laurent handbags that transcend time and trends. Like Le Smoking, Yves Saint Laurent bags are structured, with angular grace and clean lines.
In the Phaidon book, Yves Saint Laurent Accessories, Patrick Mauriès writes about the fact that Yves Saint Laurent tended to place more emphasis on jewelry as accessories than on handbags. Consequently, we see echoes of that jewelry in the chains, studs, tassels and other embellishments to some of the brand’s most beloved bags.
Here are 3 YSL handbags that show up in just about every list of faves:
The YSL LouLou
Quilted in the iconic chevron pattern that adds up to a Y shape when the front flap is closed, the LouLou can be found in various materials and textures, but leather is the most common. The doubled chain of the satchel can be adjusted to function as either a shoulder strap or a top handle, and the structured interior separates two compartments with a zippered pocket, making the LouLou a practical piece to reach for on the regular. (See the LouLou also interpreted as a crossbody by clicking here.)
The YSL Sac de Jour
Global Blue’s online magazine recognizes the Sac de Jour as Yves Saint Laurent’s “it bag,” and we couldn’t agree more. Expandable and unmistakable, the structured tote comes in a variety of sizes and colors, but always maintains its uncompromising commitment to shape and class. We love it in its classic leather (above) but also have to recommend the edge it takes on in crocodile (below).
The YSL Kate
In the elegant Kate chain bag, we really get to see the way Yves Saint Laurent’s love of jewelry carries into the handbag realm. This slender chain wallet shoulder bag features a tassel and a smooth leather finish augmented by the shining signature initials of the couturier.
Shop more pre-owned Yves Saint Laurent handbags here.