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Yves Saint Laurent | 1936-2008

Designer for the modern woman

French designer Yves Saint Laurent receives applause at the end of his fall ready-to-wear show on March 22, 1989, in Paris.

Associated Press (1989)

French designer Yves Saint Laurent receives applause at the end of his fall ready-to-wear show on March 22, 1989, in Paris.

PARIS — Legendary designer Yves Saint Laurent, who reworked the rules of fashion by putting women into elegant designs that came to define how modern women dressed, died Sunday (June 1, 2008), a longtime friend and associate said. He was 71.

Pierre Berge, Mr. Saint Laurent's business partner for four decades, said he had died at his Paris home following a long illness.

A towering figure of 20th century fashion, Yves Saint Laurent (pronounced Eaves-sahn Lore-rahn) was widely considered the last of a generation that included Christian Dior and Coco Chanel and that made Paris the fashion capital of the world.

During a career that ran from 1957 to 2002, Mr. Saint Laurent changed the way women dress by putting them into pants both day and night, into peacoats and safari jackets, into "le smoking" (as the French call a man's tuxedo jacket), and into leopard prints, trench coats and, for a time in the 1970s, peasant-inspired clothing in rich fabrics.

He was a master colorist, able to mix green, blue, rose and yellow in one outfit to achieve an effect that was artistic and never garish.

In the fast-changing world of haute couture, Mr. Saint Laurent was hailed as the most influential and enduring designer of his time. From the first YSL tuxedo and his trim pantsuits to see-through blouses, safari jackets and glamorous gowns, he created instant classics that remain stylish decades later.

Berge praised Mr. Saint Laurent as the man who marked "the second half of the 20th century" in fashion.

When Mr. Saint Laurent announced his retirement in 2002 at age 65 and the closure of the Paris-based haute couture house, it was mourned in the fashion world as the end of an era.

Information from the New York Times was used in this report.

Designer for the modern woman 06/01/08 [Last modified: Monday, November 1, 2010 9:22am]

    

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