March 10, 2017

The new creative director of Saint Laurent, Anthony Vaccarello has taken the helm of the Parisian label which debuted last September featured 80s sex appeal, a fearless sensibility, short skirts and unapologetically puffy sleeves.

What was also interesting was the presence of the iconic YSL monogram, which was suspended in giant neon format above the venue. Nowhere was this most apparent, than the Opyum shoe, which features a heel spotlighting the monogram’s sleek typography. The result is a piece of modern fashion pornography that is undeniable fetishist. Also, the move is not only a nod of respect to the brand’s original founding designer, but also a modern day interpretation of the brand in the 21st century.

Created in 1961, the YSL monogram was created by commercial poster artist Adolphe Mouron Cassandre, or Cassandre as he preferred to be called. The French artist worked previously creating typefaces and magazine covers for companies including Harper’s Bazaar. Deeply inspired by cubism and surrealism, he also worked for a Parisian printing house before setting up his own advertising firm. One of his highlights includes winning first prize at the 1925 Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes. The YSL monogram was one of his final works.


The logo itself has endured and aged exceptionally well, capturing the seductive and powerful spirit of the Yves Saint Laurent woman. Always executed in white, black or gold, the symbol has come to not only embody a designer who has played a pivotal role in fashion history, but a defiant reminder of Yves’ spirit that lingers long after his passing. The inimitable designer once uttered that “Chanel freed women but I empowered them.” These words stand strong and true at a time when women have become iconic beacons of strength, and the logo is representative of that pioneering sensibility.

The monogram contains several design contradictions, which blend together for harmonious. Inspired by the abstract art movements in France and Germany, Cassandre created a design that marries serif, san serif, italic and roman fonts together. This tension was created to intentionally reflect the surrealism and ambiguity of the designer’s work. Whilst used in full name format to spell the brand’s name, the version that contains just its initials is now just as memorable.


Since its conception, the logo’s legacy lives on, continually appearing throughout the brand’s history. Some of these moments include its appearance in the Opium fragrance ad featuring Maria Carla Boscono, its transformation into bejewelled embellishments by Stefano Pilati for the brand’s spring summer 2008 show and recently across the brand’s selection of handbags. The 4.3 inch high Opyum heel, which features this iconic slice of heritage in patent black patent leather will soon be available at On Pedder, along with the brand’s Kate Clutch.

By Daniel Kong

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