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The Beautiful Fall: Lagerfeld, Saint Laurent, and Glorious Excess in 1970s Paris

Chapter 6: 1971 As homosexuality bounded forth with delight from the smoking ruins of an authoritarian society, so there was a new perception of homosexuality within fashion. Up until now fashion and homosexualitys interdependence had been conducted on furtive and euphemistic terms. Homosexual couturiers such as Monsieur Dior and Monsieur Balenciaga had friends, not lovers. Saint Laurent and Berg were one of the first homosexual couples in fashion to live and work openly as such. From now on in fashion, as Maxime de la Falaise remembers, It was the period of homosexual outage. Suddenly they were the fabulous ones, they were the attractive ones; no straight man was attractive. A generation of homosexuals entered the scene that bore none of the trussed-up shame of before. They were open, curious, light-headed in their sexuality and libido, and consequently at ease with their bodies A host of young and beautiful men appeared in Paris setting pulses awry, bourgeois boys with angel faces who in the heat of the summer set off for Paris to find a protector, write a novel, be a model, make love, whatever happened first. In 1971 Yves Saint Laurent launched his first mens fragrance and used his naked self as the central star of the advertising campaign. It was a far cry from his former buttoned-up self as shows how radically Yves had been influenced by the storm of sexual liberation. It was French fashion photographer Jeanloup Sieff who took the photograph, but crucially, it was Yves, not Sieff, who devised the idea for the image; he wanted to be shown naked. Yves appeared in a black and white portrait sitting on a pile of black leather cushions with his body shown at the height of its allureslim, taut, and mesmerizing in its grace. It was the body type that was considered the homosexual ideal at that moment in time and the image became a pin-up poster for a new generation of teenage boys.
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