Color Style Kyle

Combining art, creativity, design, family, health, humor and books.

Yves Saint Laurant – Accesories So Beautiful Even a Starving Artist Had to Have One

Posted by Kyle Design on June 5, 2008

Fuchsia Silk Satin Belt by Yves Saint LaurentI paused this week when I read of the death on Sunday of French fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent. The one piece of “designer clothing” I own is a fuchsia silk satin belt that I purchased from the YSL store when at the South Coast Plaza shopping center in Costa Mesa, CA about 18 years ago. High Heeled Shoes Pill Box in Silver with Royal PurpleThe belt is about 2.5 inches wide and fits a 24″ waist, which I had at the time, and which was also difficult to find as I had to have most belts cut down to fit. I did not have such a small waist because I was a starving artist, but because I was naturally very thin, and my mother before me had an 18″ waist when she was younger, as well.

I always went to my local cobblers in downtown Hayward to have them adjust my belts and repair my shoes. (Such stores have long since disappeared with our throwaway society, so I don’t even know where I’d go now, if I still had that “problem” of a too tiny waist, but I don’t, so I’m not going to worry about it….)

Kyle Design Trade Show Booth Displaying Silk Jewelry, Night Lights, Pill BoxesThe belt cost about $235 or about $250 out the door and was something I was in no way able to afford. I was in Los Angeles for the LA Gift Show where I was exhibiting at the related now-defunct Beckman’s Gift Show which was held each summer and winter at the Coliseum (hey, the Grand Sumo Tournament is going on there this weekend!) in Anaheim. I had finished setting up my booth early, so I had a little extra time to check out the famous South Coast Plaza shopping center.

Japanese Character for Dream Key Ring with Retractable Steel CordI bought my YSL belt a couple of years before the Rodney King beating and the LA Riots, which started the end of April in 1992. So when I returned the summer show a couple of months after the riots, I had to drive through the trashed areas – Western and Figueroa streets seem to stick in my mind – and it was in sharp contrast to my visions of the beautiful, glamorous, elegant and very wealthy shopping experience I held in my mind each time I returned to the area. The devastation quickly reset my visions of LA for me.

Hand-painted Silk Earrings in fuchsia and purple with gold settingsSome background: I’ve always tried to create beautiful, affordable designer gifts and at that time I was making my living as an artist creating brilliantly-colored hand-painted silk jewelry. So finding a belt in silk and in my color was pretty amazing. When I first saw the belt I was smitten and stood there dreaming of owning it, yet sadly leaving the store without it. But I couldn’t get it out of my mind and ran back and bought it. Purchasing the belt was a complete extravagance on my part – as a struggling artist I had no business spending that on a belt, but I did it anyway!

I’ve heard it said that you should never tell people what they can or cannot afford, as everyone must decide for themselves what is most important, most desired, most needed, and that was certainly the case for me. I know that saleswomen never in a million years expected me to come back in and buy that belt.

Irish Celtic Knot Wallet or Cigarette Case in Gold with FuchsiaBut that was why Yves Saint Laurent was considered one of the greatest and most influential designers of the 20th century – he designed clothing and accessories that were so beautiful you could not resist.

Sure, I’ve had things I have regretted – not going to Ireland with the rest of my cousins and aunts to meet our relatives around that same time, for one – but I’ve never regretted buying the belt. It is beautiful. I wore it often. I love it. It still looks great. And I have daughters! One day, sweetheart, this belt will be yours.



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