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  • Writer's pictureAlessandra Fanizzi


Colour has the power to recall emotions and communicate different messages, especially in fashion. It’s not simply a key trend element in fashion, but it describes well-defined worlds.

And in the fashion world, Yves Saint Laurent is the fashion designer who has gifted women with colour.

Article written for Ermes Magazine

Iconic dresses inside Musée Yves Saint Laurent, Paris

Colour creates the visual impression immediately, more than everything else. It is not only generated from light. It not only produces chromatic impressions inside our brains. Every colour, and every hue, is deeply connected to the world of human emotions, to psychological and physical profile. Thus, over the years, a colour and clothing-related psychology has been reinforced and designed, due to its high and bold communicative chromatic power. Everything has meaning in fashion.

If you think about colour, many artists, creators, fashion designer cross your mind. But the only one that has played with colour sensation in fashion is definitely Yves Saint Laurent, the greatest couturier on earth. Nobody had a sense of chromatism as he had. Bold juxtaposition and unexpected emotional hues blended such as red and dark magenta, yellow and violet.

An Artist who has dedicated his entire career to fashion, made of lights and shadows, always looking for perfection. With his genius and creative spirit, Monsieur Yves has revolutionized women's style forever. He loved women for their allure and he set them free by gifting them clothing items that empowered them.

Every collection is inspired by art, sculpture, painting, literature, opera, movies, travel destinations. Vivid, transgressive, austere, and hyperfeminine colours shades were breathing pure life on fabrics, decorations, becoming absolute main characters.

Unique and non-verbal messages worn by women.

And you, what do you communicate (un)consciously with colours?

Let’s explore together his chromatic universe, looking with his eyes and more.


Gold, because it offers the purity and the flow of the springwater, shaping the body until it is nothing more than a line. - Yves Saint Laurent, Archive of the Fondation Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint Laurent

Gold colour represents light, aesthetic sense, prosperity, extravaganza, power, perfection, magic.

Gold relates to the sacred symbolism, divine beings, supernatural virtues, and it vibrates eclectic power and personality.

Women who wear it transform themselves into goddesses, queens, with their unique allure.


I loved renovating the Majorell garden. No one knows with any certainty what the exact coors were originally. I scratched the walls, but I never found any of the famous Majorelle blue. It was problably less electric. Majorelle was a Matisse; that’s my passion. -Yves Saint Laurent, Globe, 1986

Majorelle blue is the famous colour of the villa which is located inside the Majorelle Gardens site, which Yves and Pierre Bergè bought because of its breathtaking beauty.

This is a particular shade of blue, between ultramarine and cobalt blue, intense and deep.

To perform this type of colour represents tranquillity, stability, depth, sense of relaxing, profound sensibility.


I like dull colors by day, bacause I find that the light of Paris is ill-suited to bright colors, but at night I want women to be like birds of paradise.-Yves Saint Laurent, Elle, 1977

This colour is associated with vegetation, nature, spring-like rebirth, life itself.

It expresses strength, equilibrium, stability, solidity, persistence, and thus a sense of hope, growth, self-worth, affirmation. Green gifts a nice sensation of regeneration to the wearer’s mind.


What I love about Manet is the sumptuous, nuanced whites, like the dresses in his balcony painting, or in his portrait of the pre-raphaelite woman to be sublime, quite modern, and fully liberated. - Yves Saint Laurent, Globe, 1986

White underlines purity, noble feelings and will of change.

It evokes virginity, sense of holy spirituality. It’s associated with Paradise and Eternity, a certain tendency to fatalism, as well as creativity and imagination.


Red is the foundation of makeup, it’s lips and fingernails. Red is a noble color, the color of a precious stone – rubies – as well as the coor of danger, and sometimes you have to play with danger. Red is a religious color, it’s the color of blood, the color of royalty, Phaedra and so many other heroinds. The red of fire and the red of battle – red is a battle between death and life - Le Monde, "Yves Saint Laurent at the Metropolitan Museum, New York. Portrait of the Artist, “An interview with Yvonne Baby, December 8, 1983

This colour is connected with heart and love, it represents dynamism, passion, sensuality, vitality, pride, strength and sense of security, but it’s also the colour of fire, blood, action.

Who wears red definitely wants to be seen.


My favourite color after black, is pink. - Yves Saint Laurent, Manuscript, Archive of Fondation Pierre Bergé - Yves Saint Laurent

Pink is a symbol of vitality, sweetness, give and receive love action, femininity.

The main characteristic of this colour in fashion is to lighten and simplify the chords of mind, to be open to people, with natural beauty and firm delicate spirit.


Black is a color. It’s the stroke of a pencil drawing, an outline on a black sheet of paper. Black is the color of Renaissance portrait, the color of Clouet, Agnes of Valois, Frans Hals, and Manet. - Yves Saint Laurent

Black is absolute the favourite colour of Monsieur Yves. It embodies elegance, security, depth, limit, rigour, and also a provocation, rebellion, sensuality, power.

It designs the true passe-partout in the fashion world, it slims down, it’s fast, it adapts to all seasons.

Black represents a defensive barrier between a personal interior universe and the outside environment, protecting and hiding the most intimate emotions.

It’s chic, perfect in its firmness, its gifts extreme allure and mysterious attitude.

Photo source: Flickr - Creative Commons licence attribution

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