In the Name of Love: For Yves Saint Laurent, It was More than a Four Letter Word

In France, as in other European countries, the New Year’s card is far more meaningful than the Christmas card. Where the Christmas card can be vapid and vague in its wishes, the New Year’s card is more solemn and sincere, a wistful hope that the great unknown of a new year will find us all together again.

Perhaps now in the midst of a pandemic, that sentiment is all the more meaningful.

“Love” — as a both subject and inspiration — has always been one of the major themes of the designer’s work.

Which is why for some time now, we have been smitten with the beautiful LOVE drawings created each year by Yves Saint Laurent for New Year’s.

A selection of Yves Saint Laurent’s New Year’s cards, which are now highly collectible. 

Beginning in 1970 Saint Laurent handcrafted a single image as a poster with simply the word LOVE, and then sent them to his colleagues, friends, and intimate clients as his single worded expression of his New Year’s wish.

Whether as collage, drawing, or gouache, each year’s card memorialized the passing of one year and the beginning of another, with whatever graphic expression he fancied at that moment.

“Love” — as a both subject and inspiration — has always been one of the major themes of the designer’s work, and hearts appeared on clothing, hats, shoes, and jewelry. In fact, there are some who obsessively collect every piece of heart jewelry the House ever created.

At top, the designer’s croquis of the necklace that became an icon; below, an image Saint Laurent in a book along with some of the jewelry currently on offer at 

Much of the jewelry was made by the House of Gripoix which specializes in a technique using molten glass. Metalwork was gold-plated.

There is one “heart” which became an icon. Known simply as “the heart,” the necklace first appeared in a 1962 presentation and then reappeared in the 1990s. It is still one of the most coveted of the designer’s jewelry, with only a few produced at a time.

And while Saint Laurent ceased making his New Year’s cards in 2007 (he passed away the following year) We are still in awe of how he managed to make one word such a beautiful valentine that was expressed in so many beautiful ways.

So, let’s celebrate love in 2021, not just for Valentine’s Day but because… all you need is love.

>> Discover our collection of vintage YSL heart jewelry at Fonfrè