All About Yves
Rarely does a reader get to enjoy the sensation of sheer joy while being reminded that there are indeed many reasons to buy, own, and read a book. One of those moments is brought about by All About Yves. Found in the lyrics of a bygone standard ballad from the 1940s, Bud Green wrote and summed it best: “Gonna make a sentimental journey, / To renew old memories” and that is exactly what Catherine Örmen has bestowed upon readers of this genre and in particular All About Yves.
All About Yves contains little that is new but with this unbelievably unique presentation, Örmen has unearthed a treasure trove of memorabilia that has only been previously written of but never seen in book form. The monograph was first released in France last year and now its translation appears here in the USA at a time that seems propitious given the very recent openings of the YSL museums in both Paris and Marrakech.
“Masculinity is no more associated with grey flannel and muscular shoulders than femininity is with chiffon or a full bosom, I think the days of doll-like women and dominant men are over” —YSL, 1969
While the text is quite simple, succinct, meaningful, and extremely unpretentious the book deftly examines Yves St Laurent as a man, a designer, a business, a genius, a son, a prodigy, an aesthete, and now as legend. The book is very intimate. Once again, this is a case of reality far exceeding expectation when it comes to reading about a designer who has so often been written about.
One would classify the book neither as a biography nor timeline of the designer/brand but rather as an examination and celebration of his life and his oeuvre in terms of his contributions to the world of fashion. Another interesting aspect is that this author has chosen to speak of YSL menswear, which is rarely if ever even mentioned in monographs dealing with St Laurent’s career.
Lastly, there is a sort of swag bag that awaits the perspective owner of this book; what is contains is a collection of some of the great souvenirs of reading and owning a book as well mementos one of the greatest fashion icons of any generation.