YSL Vs Saint Laurent: What’s the Difference in 2024

by Tori Jones
YSL bags

High fashion is intoxicating and intricate, where nuances often make the grandest statements. At the crossroads of design and legacy, few topics stir as much intrigue as the distinction between YSL and Saint Laurent. You might have heard both names reverberating through the hallowed halls of fashion weeks or even found them embossed on the tag of your most prized wardrobe pieces. But have you ever paused to ponder what indeed sets them apart?

In today’s deep dive, we’ll trace the storied paths of these iconic labels. By the end, you will discern the difference between YSL and Saint Laurent and be equipped with the knowledge that separates a true fashion aficionado from a casual observer. From history and vision to branding and evolution, it’s time to unravel a tale as captivating as couture.

The Storied Saga of Yves Saint Laurent

Yves Saint Laurent
@ysl via Instagram

Hey, fashion enthusiasts! Have you ever wondered about the tale behind one of fashion’s most iconic brands? Dive in with me as I recount the enchanting journey of Yves Saint Laurent, from its historical foundations to its modern evolution.

Tracing the Threads: YSL’s Early Days

I remember the first time I heard of Yves Saint Laurent; it felt like the whisperings of a fashion legend. YSL was brought to life in 1962 by the genius designer Yves Saint Laurent and his savvy business partner Pierre Bergé. Having cut his teeth as Christian Dior’s creative director and surviving the tumultuous times of the Second World War, Yves was primed to etch his signature in the world of luxury fashion.

Just a year into its inception, the brand unveiled its elegant and iconic YSL logo, the brainchild of the unparalleled graphic designer A.M. Cassandre. It’s amusing how some things become timeless, right? This monogram, born from Cassandre’s genius, is a testament to that.

The Wave of Popularity

Now, let’s journey to the 1960s and 70s. Imagine walking down Paris’ artistic Left Bank and stumbling upon YSL’s first boutique. Those were the days when the brand started gaining momentum, offering avant-garde designs that redefined women’s fashion. One of my all-time favorite pieces from that era? The Le Smoking tuxedo! A trailblazing trouser suit for women, it boldly blurred gender norms and fashion rules.

As time progressed, the brand evolved under various creative directors. There were the dazzling designs by Alber Elbaz in the late ’90s, followed by the daring visions of Tom Ford, Stefano Pilati, and eventually, the transformative Hedi Slimane.

From YSL to Saint Laurent: The Transformation

@ysl via Instagram

2012 brought with it the winds of change. Under Hedi Slimane’s stewardship, YSL saw a rebranding like no other. ‘Yves’ was dropped, birthing the new “Saint Laurent Paris.” This shift led to many a raised eyebrow and heated discussions over lattes and luncheons. But amidst the debates and speculations, Slimane remained an enigma, shying away from interviews.

Decades have passed, and while the Saint Laurent Paris branding endures, the echoes of YSL are hard to miss. Spotting the classic YSL logo on luxury handbags and fragrances is like finding a cherished memory, reminding us of the brand’s rich legacy.

YSL vs. Saint Laurent: Clearing the Confusion

A common puzzle among many is distinguishing YSL from Saint Laurent. Here’s the deal: they’re the same! Although Saint Laurent is the brand’s official title now, the world, including yours truly, often alternates between YSL and Yves Saint Laurent.

For those who love a digital scavenger hunt, the official Saint Laurent website is YSL.com, and their Instagram handle? @ysl. Oh, and not to forget, their makeup line still proudly wears the YSL badge.

Bagging the Branding

Handbag lovers, this one’s for you! In all its versatility, the brand graces bags with either the classic YSL logo or the contemporary Saint Laurent in sleek lettering. My tip? Please choose the one that resonates with your style and carries a piece of fashion history.

Sac De Jour: The Everyday Essential

Saint Laurent Sac De Jour Baby Leather Top-Handle Bag

Remember when you spotted a bag and thought, “This is the one!”? Well, Sac De Jour did that for me. This beautifully structured bag, with its smooth leather exterior, screams sophistication. What I adore about it is its versatility – there’s a size, a hue, a leather type for everyone! (And believe me, I’ve struggled to pick just one.) Inside, it’s a marvel of organization with dual compartments and a central zipped pocket. Whether toting it by hand or draping it over your shoulder, its understated elegance is unmistakable.

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Kate Shoulder Bag: Glam On-the-Go

Saint Laurent Kate Small YSL Monogram Grain de Poudre Crossbody Bag on Chain

Ah, the Kate! Many a time, I’ve been out on casual errands and then roped into an impromptu dinner. Which bag never let me feel out of place? This sleek shoulder bag featuring that emblematic gold YSL logo epitomizes chic. Fashioned from textured black leather, the delicate gold chain strap allows it to swing seamlessly from daytime rendezvous to nighttime soirees. Peek inside, and its compact, functional space is ideal for all your essentials.

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Rive Gauche Tote Bag: The Conversationalist

SAINT LAURENT Rive Gauche Small Canvas Tote Bag

Rive Gauche holds a special place in my heart, partly because of its stylish design and nostalgic nod to Saint Laurent’s roots on the Parisian Left Bank. With its intriguing play of soft crema and black leather, its canvas edition never fails to start conversations. This tote is also a practical companion besides being a visual treat. With an easily accessible open top and a zip pocket inside, you’re all set for a day out!

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What Other Iconic Pieces Did YSL Create Besides the Le Smoking Tuxedo?

Yves Saint Laurent (YSL) was a groundbreaking designer, and while the Le Smoking tuxedo is arguably his most iconic creation, it’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to his innovative contributions to the fashion world. Here are some other iconic pieces and concepts introduced by YSL:

  1. The Safari Jacket: In the late 1960s, YSL introduced the safari jacket for women. It was a stylish, tailored take on the rugged outdoorsy jacket typically associated with adventurers. Made in lightweight materials, it became an instant hit and is still in vogue today.
  2. Peasant Blouses: YSL popularized the romantic, Bohemian aesthetic with his peasant blouses in the 1970s. These blouses, with their rich embroidery and soft ruffles, gave a nod to folkloric traditions while maintaining a high-fashion edge.
  3. Transparent Clothing: In 1966, YSL shocked the fashion world by introducing sheer blouses and other transparent clothing. It was a bold statement on femininity and became a talking point in fashion circles.
  4. Mondrian Dress: In his 1965 collection, YSL introduced the Mondrian dress, a shift dress inspired by the works of Dutch painter Piet Mondrian. It featured a simple, geometric design that was a fusion of art and fashion.
  5. Pantsuits for Women: While the Le Smoking tuxedo is the most famous, YSL introduced various other pantsuits for women. He played a significant role in popularizing trousers as appropriate and stylish evening wear for women.
  6. The Trench Coat for Women: YSL’s interpretation of the trench coat transformed it from a utilitarian item to a fashion-forward piece. His version was both elegant and functional.
  7. Pop Art Collection: YSL’s 1966 Pop Art collection was another instance where he drew inspiration from the art world. The dresses in this collection, inspired by the Pop Art movement, were vibrant and bold, with large prints reminiscent of the works of artists like Andy Warhol.
  8. Russian Collection: In the 1970s, YSL unveiled a collection heavily inspired by traditional Russian clothing. It was a nod to the global influences that had begun to permeate fashion.
  9. Cubist Collection: Again drawing from the art world, YSL’s 1988 collection took inspiration from the Cubist movement, bringing another dimension of artistic fusion to fashion.

These pieces and collections only scratch the surface of YSL’s expansive and innovative work. He consistently pushed boundaries, challenged conventions, and introduced new concepts to the fashion world. Each creation not only made a style statement but often carried deeper cultural or societal implications, marking YSL as not just a fashion designer, but a true artist and visionary.

What Is the History Behind the Rive Gauche Tote Bag?

The Rive Gauche tote bag from Saint Laurent has a name steeped in history and significance for the brand. The name “Rive Gauche” itself translates to “Left Bank” in English and is an ode to the artistic and bohemian heart of Paris, the left bank of the Seine, where intellectuals, writers, and artists have traditionally gathered.

Here’s a brief overview of the connection between “Rive Gauche” and Yves Saint Laurent:

  1. Rive Gauche Boutique: In 1966, Yves Saint Laurent and his partner Pierre Bergé opened the Rive Gauche boutique on Rue de Tournon in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés area of Paris, which is on the city’s left bank. This boutique was groundbreaking at the time because it was one of the first instances of a high-end designer delving into ready-to-wear fashion. The boutique catered to the younger generation who desired more accessible fashion than haute couture could offer.
  2. Rive Gauche Perfume: YSL launched the Rive Gauche perfume in 1971, which further solidified the association of the brand with this Parisian locale. The perfume, packaged in a blue-striped tin reminiscent of a hair spray can, became an instant classic and represented the brand’s modernity and revolutionary spirit.
  3. Rive Gauche Tote Bag: Fast forward to the 21st century, and the Rive Gauche tote bag is a testament to the brand’s longstanding connection with the Left Bank. The tote, often crafted in canvas with bold typography, is a stylish yet functional piece. Its design is straightforward, often featuring the words “Rive Gauche” and “Saint Laurent,” referencing not only the brand’s roots but also the initial boutique that was a significant milestone in YSL’s history.

Throughout its history, the Saint Laurent brand has continually evoked the spirit of the Rive Gauche, emphasizing creativity, freedom, and modernity. The Rive Gauche tote bag is a contemporary continuation of this legacy, capturing both the history and the timeless chic of Yves Saint Laurent.

Discover The history behind the YSL Logo

The YSL logo, with its interlocked initials, stands as one of the most recognizable and iconic emblems in the world of fashion. Its creation and enduring presence symbolize not only the brand’s timeless style but also a particular moment in the history of graphic design.

A Marriage of Fashion and Art

  1. The Designer Behind the Logo: The YSL logo was created in 1961 by the Ukrainian-French graphic designer Adolphe Mouron Cassandre. Cassandre, who simply went by his surname, was already a celebrated figure in the design world before he took on this commission. He was particularly known for his innovative typography and poster designs for companies like Dubonnet and the French railway company.
  2. A Timeless Monogram: The brief for the logo was simple – to create a logo that encapsulated the essence of the brand and would stand the test of time. Cassandre developed a monogram using the initials of Yves Saint Laurent. The intertwining of the letters Y, S, and L in a vertical layout with the Y and the L bridging over the S gave the logo a unique, balanced look. Its simplicity, elegance, and modernity made it an instant classic.
  3. Immediate Integration: Shortly after its creation, the YSL logo was integrated into the brand’s designs, from clothing tags to storefronts, and it quickly became synonymous with the cutting-edge, luxurious fashion that Yves Saint Laurent represented.

Enduring Legacy

Despite numerous changes within the company, including shifts in creative direction and even the controversial rebranding of the ready-to-wear line to “Saint Laurent Paris” in 2012, the original YSL monogram remains untouched and integral. It can still be seen on many of the brand’s products, from handbags and shoes to cosmetics.

The creation of the YSL logo is a testament to the foresight of both Yves Saint Laurent and Cassandre. In combining their respective expertise, they crafted an emblem that, over half a century later, continues to be a symbol of style, luxury, and timeless elegance in the fashion world.


Wrapping up our dive into the illustrious world of Saint Laurent bags, it’s evident that each piece is not just an accessory but an investment in timeless style. While choosing the perfect bag, consider its functionality and alignment with your style. Remember, these designer pieces are investments, so always verify the authenticity to avoid the pitfalls of counterfeits. Trust in reputable stores and do your research. After all, fashion is as much about knowledge as it is about expression. Here’s to making informed choices, celebrating iconic design, and always confidently carrying your style. Until next time, stay empowered and fashion-forward!

Feature image by Laura Chouette on Unsplash

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