YSL and Dior are among top French luxury fashion houses, but which brand is better for you? This YSL vs Dior article will help you figure it out!
Yves Saint Laurent and the house of Dior have been creating incredible ready-to-wear clothing, handbags and accessories for decades and have become staple brands at Paris Fashion Week, with fashion enthusiasts always excited to see what they show on the catwalk.
Saint Laurent and Dior are both also known for innovative designs that revolutionized the fashion world and encouraged new trends and styles to become wildly popular all over the world.
There are many similarities between these two luxury brands, including the fact that Yves Saint Laurent himself has been the creative director of both brands! But we will delve into the differences between these two brands to help you figure out which brand is best for you. This article will look at the history of each brand, the differences between them, and compare a few best-selling items before coming to a conclusion on YSL vs Dior.
YSL vs Dior
The history of Saint Laurent
French fashion designer, Yves Saint Laurent has had a long history in the fashion industry. He began his career working at Christian Dior, before becoming the creative director of the brand for a brief period.
Saint Laurent was drafted during the Second World War, and it wasn’t until after his stint in the French army and a stay in hospital that Yves Saint Laurent started his own fashion house, YSL, alongside his business partner Pierre Bergé.
Saint Laurent wanted to popularize ready-to-wear fashion and make is more accessible for young women. After his time spent as a designer at Dior, Saint Laurent aimed to create women’s fashion that attracted to the artistic Parisian youths.
It was at this point that Yves Saint Laurent opened his Rive Gauche boutique on the left bank of the River Seine in Paris. Saint Laurent’s first collection was an instant success, freeing the female form with his designs. The simplicity of the ensembles were reminiscent of Coco Chanel’s designs.
YSL went on to create some of the most famous looks and start some of the most famous trends of the 1960s, 70s, and 80s. He created the Beatnik look and the first tuxedo suit for women, known as Le Smoking suit. His 1978 collection emphasized shoulders and a narrow waist, a silhouette that would become incredibly popular during the 1980s.
After the stress of four shows a year became too much for Saint Laurent, Pierre Bergé employed Hedi Slimane in 1997 to design the ready-to-wear collections, while Saint Laurent designed the haute couture looks. Shortly after, Tom Ford took over this role, then in 2002, the haute couture line was discontinued.
In 2007, Hedi Slimane returned to the role of creative director and revolutionized the brand by removing the ‘Yves’ from the brand year. Slimane bought the haute couture back in 2015 but then left the creative director role in 2016.
Anthony Vaccarello is now the creative director and continues to create stunning collections that continue the legacy of YSL. The brand grew over the years to now offer fragrances, cosmetic products, small leather goods, jewelry, and shoes.
The History of Dior
French designer Christian Dior founded the house of Dior in 1946 and showed his first collection in 1947. Christian Dior found success very quickly as his first collections proved very popular, breaking conventions and creating a new silhouette that would come to define the 1950s.
The designs from his Spring Summer 1947 fashion show would come to be known as the New Look, as they moved away from the minimalist rationed designs of the 1940s during the war and introduced an extravagant look that was an instant success.
The New Look silhouette was characterized by full skirts and a narrow waist – after some initial opposition, women loved that Dior’s designs bought back femininity after the austerity of the Second World War.
Christian Dior’s designs were beloved by royalty and the biggest stars in Hollywood in the 1950s, and the brand was growing, with boutiques opening in Paris, London, and New York City. Then in 1957, Dior suffered a heart attack and 21-year-old Yves Saint Laurent became the creative director.
Saint Laurent’s first collection proved popular as it was similar to the designs of Christian Dior, but his second bohemian-inspired collection was criticized by the older, rich customers of Dior who wanted more sophisticated and elegant looks.
Marc Bohan came in to replace Saint Laurent and proved popular with Dior customers. Bohan also launched the very first Dior Homme collection, which quickly became a favorite menswear line and has remained so since – Hedi Slimane and Kim Jones are among the creative directors for this collection.
In 1989, Gianfranco Ferré became creative director, and after nearly 10 years at the valuable luxury brand, in 1997, British designer John Galliano was introduced as the latest creative director, bringing a new, fresh lease of life to the historic fashion house.
After Galliano came Raf Simons, before Maria Grazia Chiuri was announced as the new creative director in 2016, being the first woman creative director at the house of Dior. She has continued to create iconic, wildly popular designs that have ensured Dior remains at the forefront of the fashion industry.
Differences between YSL Vs Dior
There are some key differences between the two brands that we need to explore in order to come to a conclusion on YSL vs Dior and help determine which one is better for you.
1. price range
The price range of the handbags from both of these luxury fashion houses is a great place to start. YSL bags range between $1,000 and $4,690, while Dior handbags are available for $1,400 and up to $8,000.
However, the most popular handbags from YSL typically retail for around $2,500, while Dior’s most popular bags hover around $3,000-$4,000 – this shows that of the two, Dior is definitely the more expensive brand.
YSL and Dior bags are made from a range of different materials that we are going to explore, so you can work out which brand is best suited to you and your lifestyle.
The majority of YSL bags are made from calfskin leather, which has a luxurious look and gives Saint Laurent bags a gorgeous finish. Some bags have a textured finish, while others have a smooth finish; the texture on the leather makes the bag a little more durable and a little less prone to scratches, while smooth leather can scuff more easily.
In addition to this, there are Saint Laurent bags made from suede, denim, coated canvas, and woven straw if you are looking for something a little different.
Dior makes use of calfskin, lambskin and goatskin leather – lambskin has a soft look and more luxurious feel but it is easily scratched and scuffed so you have to be careful with any lambskin bags. Both calfskin and goatskin bags often have a textured finish making them a little more durable. Dior also has a wide range of canvas, wicker, raffia, and satin bag so you have a wide variety to choose from.
3. resale value
If you are thinking of buying a luxury bag as an investment, it is worth noting how much they appreciate their value and what the resale price may be.
Both brands make very popular leather goods, so handbags from both YSL and Dior are always going to sell well on resale sites. However, if you compare the two brands strictly from a resale value perspective, Dior takes the cake.
Part of the reason is thanks to the fact that many Dior bags have become extremely popular, and are highly desired even on the secondhand market – the Saddle bag and the Book Tote are perfect examples of this. Secondly, Dior’s bags are already priced higher than Saint Laurent’s, and with increasing price adjustments year over year, you can expect to get most of your money back from a bag on the reslae market.
Lastly, Dior has a slightly more prestigious image and the brand never discounts its items to the general public (you can get items with a dicount only at private sales).
Saint Laurent, on the otherhand has had a history of participating in sales both via its own brand and retailers like Net A Porter, through which you can still buy YSL products with a 10% discount if you’re a new customer. This not only makes the brand image less prestigious but it also means that many consumers have been able to purchase items at a slight discount, which can reflect the pricing on the resale websites.
As an example, you can buy a Dior Saddle bag new for $3,800, and saddle bags in excellent condition sell for between $2,900 and $3,500 on secondhand sites. Of course, if you’ve bought the bag a few years ago before a price increase, you may be even able to sell the it for a profit!
Compare this to the YSL Nano Sac de Jour, which is available for $2,390 new, while on resale sites the same bag in excellent condition will sell for between $1,300 and $1,700. This shows how the resale value on Dior bags is generally a little better than on Saint Laurent bags.
Best Selling Bags from YSL Vs Dior
There are so many incredible pieces available from both YSL and Dior, so we have narrowed down the choice by focussing on a few best-selling handbags. There are lots of different styles available here so hopefully, you will find one that suits you and perhaps inspires a future purchase.
1. tote bags
There are a variety of tote bags available from YSL in different designs, so you are bound to spot one you love. We love the classic, paired-back design of this Rive Gauche Small Tote Bag, crafted from beige canvas with leather handles for a luxurious touch.
The exterior is decorated with ‘Saint Laurent Rive Gauche’ in reference to the first YSL store that opened on the Left Bank in Paris. The open top secures with gold snap closures, while the interior is fitted with a handy little zipper pocket.
The Dior Book Tote has become an iconic bag and cult classic that you really need in your life. The bag is so popular that there are now many different designs, different colors, and a variety of sizes so there is something for everyone.
This edition of the bag is in the fluorescent blue shade with the Toile de Jouy print, all have the Christian Dior name across the center of the bag and can be embroidered with your initials to make it personalized. The spacious interior will fit all your work or weekend essentials.
2. Shoulder bags
The sleek design of this Yves Saint Laurent 5 à 7 bag ensures a sophisticated and chic look. This shoulder bag has a minimalist silhouette and is crafted from buttery soft calfskin leather with a glossy shine, then embellished with YSL’s signature logo hardware.
The shoulder strap is adjustable, while the interior is lined with leather and then fitted with zipper and wall pockets to keep everything organized.
The Dior Saddle bag is a beloved bag that is a timeless classic, the perfect piece to add to any designer bag collection. This edition is made from black grained calfskin, but the Saddle bag is available in a range of different leathers, and canvas too.
The shoulder strap is connected to the bag with striking gold CK hardware, while the front of the bag features a gold D charm. There is also a range of longer, adjustable shoulder straps available to purchase so you can mix and match and adapt this bag to suit your style.
3. Top handle bags
If you are looking for an elegant work bag, then the Saint Laurent Sac de Jour Shiny Leather Bag is just perfect for you! The chic, minimalist design makes this bag a classic, plus it’s available in a range of different colors so you can go for a timeless neutral or a little pop of color.
Crafted from smooth calf leather, this bag has top handles and an adjustable, removable shoulder strap, a belted front that cinches in the side panels, and interior pockets.
The Lady Dior is one of the oldest bags in the Dior collection and its sophisticated design has meant it has really stood the test of time. Made from grained calfskin leather, this top handle bag is decorated with intricate Cannage stitching to create stunning quilting and further embellished with a sparkling silver Dior charm.
This bag comes with a detachable and adjustable shoulder strap, while the interior is fitted with a zipper pocket and a wall pocket, making it easy to keep everything organized.
4. Bucket bags
Bucket bags are so trendy at the moment and we love the structure of this Yves Saint Laurent Bahia Small Bucket Bag.
This edition of the Bahia bag is crafted from Lacquered calfskin leather, embossed with a crocodile print, then finished with gleaming gold hardware, to create really glamourous handbag. This bag has a drawstring closure and comes with a detachable long shoulder strap and a leather top handle to ensure multiple styling options.
This Dior Vibe Bucket Bag has a similar aesthetic with the structured, cylindrical exterior, but this time has a little drawstring bag inside – so stunning! Made from blue calfskin leather, the bucket bag has a white Christian Dior logo which looks really striking.
The white leather shoulder strap is adjustable and removable, and the black leather top handle is detachable so you can adapt this bag to suit your own style. The gold hardware adds the perfect glamourous touch to this must-have bag.
These prestigious luxury brands are similar in many ways so, to some extent, the YSL vs Dior decision as to which brand you should choose comes down to personal preference on the designs of the bags or luxury goods.
However, if you have a slightly small budget and want something a little more durable, then a Saint Laurent bag may be best for you. They look incredible and there are lots of options in grained calfskin, so your stunning bag will stand the test of time.
If you have a little more money to spend, and you want a bag that holds on to its value, then Dior is the brand for you – their bags are slightly pricier, but they are timeless classics and always resell well.
We hope you found this article analyzing YSL vs Dior helpful! For more luxury fashion content, check out the links below.