The YSL Monogram: Three Initials Intertwined for All Eternity

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The mythic monogram, former logo for the Yves Saint Laurent brand, was designed by Adolphe Mouron aka “Cassandre”, the most renowned graphic artist of her time. Created in 1961 at the behest of Monsieur Saint Laurent, these three interlaced initials were the only proposition made by Cassandre to Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé during an encounter at the restaurant Le Débarcadère. A proposition that was immediately accepted, since for Pierre Bergé: “Cassandre was the greatest, the best graphic designer of her time.”

Of all the work in Cassandre’s repertoire, the YSL logotype is without a doubt the most notoriously and resoundingly successful. With a surprising simplicity, the fruit of a work inspired by lapidary Roman writings, the YSL monogram was designed to age at the same pace as the stones on the Avenue Marceau. This monogram that subsequently became the logo and emblem for Saint Laurent, a veritable signature of an era who’s irrefutable renown was never tarnished. With only the designer’s initials, the message was clear since for Cassandre “the design has to be based on the text and not the other way around.” The vertical design is thus rhythmic, living, emancipated, with its modernity heightened by a modern and innovative couturier.

The elegant letters of Cassandre’s logo were always deemed perfect in the context of the Yves Saint Laurent brand’s codes, design, excellence, and culture. The YSL characters were one of the first logos to use letters as graphic elements. With its real personality, the couture house’s logotype doesn’t aim to change; the YSL insignia has and continues to be with the times. Timeless, they marked the hearts and minds of the era and continue, despite a name change for Saint Laurent Rive Gauche, to stir consciences even today.

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