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Yves Saint Laurent YSL Velvet Color-Blocked Sleeves Swing Smock Jacket, 1970s
Evoking opera coats of the 1940s, this late ‘70s Yves Saint Laurent jacket swings boldly from its stately shoulders. During the 1970s, Saint Laurent was known for his innovative re-imaginations of time and place, drawing on both historic and global inspiration. Each season Parisian runways were aglow with luxurious Saint Laurent styles like this jacket, which transformed a historic silhouette into something vivacious and new.
Made from cotton velvet, this smock jacket features a standup collar with gentle gathers at the center front and back. The front opening is joined by a single black button at the neck, which is secured with a chain-stitched button loop on the opposing side. The skillful cut of the upper bodice is almost taken for granted as the jewel-tones of the color-blocked sleeves steel most of this garment’s thunder. Their fullness gathers into tight velvet cuffs, allowing the natural body of cotton velvet to dramatically bubble at the forearm.
Fully lined in silky satin, this black velvet jacket is an elegant solution for day or evening and exposes Saint Laurent’s innate ability to strike a balance between a woman wearing a jacket and a jacket wearing a woman.
The runway photo, which features this jacket (different color) on model Sayoko Yamaguchi, illustrates how Saint Laurent confidently uses color and accessories to arrive at a total look. As said by Bernadine Morris in a July 1978 New York Times article, “What Saint Laurent has to perfection is style. That’s a lot better than fashion.”
Shoulders: 17 inches
Sleeves: 23 inches
Bust: open up to 38 inches
Waist: open up to 38 inches
Length: 27 inches
This late 1970s era swing smock jacket is in excellent condition. Expertly cut and detailed, the jacket features a closely cut standing collar that fastens with a single black button. The confident shoulder line does not overwhelm the wearer, but serves to balance the generously cut color-blocked sleeves. The sleeves’ cotton velvet bands feature jewel tones, with a dark blue gathering back into a wide wrist cuffs. Slit pockets are integrated into side seams.
The jacket is fully lined in a silky black satin. Professionally cleaned and pressed. One tiny black pen dot mark on the back of the red portion of the sleeve did not come out when cleaned; only noticeable at extremely close range. Minor, but mentioned for accuracy and full disclosure. High-quality vintage pieces like this are yours to live in and love while increasing in value every year. It’s never too soon to start collecting them, as an investment in your wardrobe—and in yourself.