January 29, 1962
First Pea Coat

Early on, Yves Saint Laurent was inspired by menswear. In 1962, he looked to the pea coat, a thick wool overcoat worn by sailors to ward off the cold. The simple shape of this practical garment sculpted the silhouette. The fact that it was not fitted and covered the hips made it ideal for women who did not yet feel daring enough to wear pants, which accentuated the female form.

Saint Laurent’s 1962 fashion show opened with the pea coat, which was the first piece he presented under his own name. The model wore it with white shantung pants and mules. This ensemble paved the way for Yves Saint Laurent’s signature style, which borrowed from menswear in order to make women feel comfortable and confident. The couturier would continue to offer variations on the navy look, notably with the sailor sweater and the paletot in his 1966 collection.