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Yves Saint Laurent Aftershave & Men's Fragrance

Shooting to fame at an unusually early age, Yves Saint Laurent started his star studded career as one of the best dressed men and aftershave entrepreneurs under the watchful eye of Christian Dior after his prize winning success of an asymmetrical cocktail dress - something that would shape his career and be one of the inspirational and audacious style creations of his life's work. After hearing of his success, Dior immediately hired Laurent, and upon Dior's death in 1957, he replaced Dior as the influential Haute Couture designer for the company.

When the Algerian War of Independence broke out, Laurent was required to join the army and as a result he lost his place at Dior. After a brief stint in hospital, Laurent was able to set up his own fashion and fragrance house in 1962 and this is when his commercial enterprise truly began to flourish, heavily supported by the addition of men's wear in 1974. Based on an image of slick tailoring and french polish, Yves Saint Laurent was keen to build a brand that housed key signature looks for men that could be easily updated with a contemporary twist, and this is something that continues today, long after the death of the founder in 2008 at the age of 71.

Yves Saint Laurent's empire went from strength to strength as he soon found himself embarking on projects outside the fashion world with aftershave and eau de cologne being one of the biggest successes. With flagship stores all over America and worldwide, it is easy to see why this instantly recognisable brand remains so popular and loved, having proudly built a true and loyal fan base from the start. This success did not come without a price though – Laurent was highly criticised throughout his career and no more so than through his scents – he was keen to promote sensual and strong fragrances that mirrored the personalities of his customer base and this was often thought to be unreasonable, judgemental and dominating. This, alongside the criticism that he was encouraging drugs with the aftershave Opium pour Homme (1995) was understandably worrying for Laurent, however the creation of the men's scent Kouros in 1981 silenced most critics as it went on to become one of the modern classics and best sellers of the perfume world to date.

It has to be said that YSL have one of the most fascinating ranges of fragrances for men – all encouraging the freedom of expression, which is what Laurent so strongly believed in. L'Homme (2006) and L'Homme Libre (2011) are some of the best-selling scents that are fresh and youthful as well as being masculine at the same time. La Nuit de L'Homme (2009) is packed full of punch and powerful ingredients and was announced by Laurent as a scent full of contrasts and tensions. Rive Gauche pour Homme was an ode to the collection of shops that sold the luxury menswear and was soon to become an icon of the house's success.
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