In 1962, Esquire magazine sent photographer Jerry Schatzberg to Paris to cover the behind-the-scenes action at the Christian Dior and Yves Saint Laurent shows, at what promised to be an historic fashion moment. Indeed it was, and Schatzberg's shoot turned out brilliantly; the full results have finally been collected in book form, under the title Paris 1962: Yves Saint Laurent and Christian Dior, The Early Collections. Schatzberg was no mere paparazzo; a renowned fashion photographer and filmmaker, he's perhaps best known for the cover of Bob Dylan's 1966 album Blonde on Blonde. His journalistic, documentary style ran counter to the usual carefully-posed fashion shoots of the time, which gave the 1962 session added urgency. But first, a little background.
Famed designer Christian Dior had died five years earlier, in 1957. Yves Saint Laurent, only 22 years old at the time, had been named as his replacement, creating a stunning new collection in a matter of weeks. Laurent held the appointment for only a short time, however, as he was soon conscripted to serve in the French army during the Algerian War of Independence. The fragile fashionista lasted less than a month before a nervous breakdown saw him committed to a mental institution. Meanwhile, Marc Bohan had taken over at Dior, leading Saint Laurent to file for breach of contract.
Gallery: Dior & YSL, Then and Now