Yves Saint Laurent was the first Couture house to launch, in 1966, the modern concept of luxury women's prêt-à-porter, in a collection called « Rive Gauche ». It was followed in 1969 by a « Rive Gauche » men's ready-to-wear line. The Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche boutiques were soon opened throughout the world, allowing fashion-conscious working individuals to wear the Yves Saint Laurent designs. This represented the first step in making luxury labels accessible to a wider public.
Milan-born Stefano Pilati saw his hometown grow into a fashion hotspot in the 1980s. In 2000 he joined Yves Saint Laurent to run its ready-to-wear clothing design. He begun overseeing the teams designing women’s collections, and took over men’s collections shortly thereafter. He was promoted to Head of Design for all Yves Saint Laurent product lines, including accessories, in June 2002. Pilati was appointed Yves Saint Laurent Creative Director in 2004.