Fashion giant Yves Saint Laurent dies at 71
One of the greatest designers of the 20th century who revolutionises women’s dress has died after a lengthy illness.2 June 2008
PARIS - French fashion giant Yves Saint Laurent, one of the great designers of the 20th century who revolutionised women's dress, has died at the age of 71 after a lengthy illness.
Saint Laurent, whose black trouser suits and safari jackets became an icon of women's liberation in the 1960s, died late Sunday of a brain tumour, his former lover and longtime business partner Pierre Berge said.
He had suffered poor mental and physical health for much of his life and had been seriously ill "for a year," Berge told French radio. The funeral will take place Friday in Paris.
The reclusive designer retired from haute couture in 2002 after four decades at the top, designing for French actress Catherine Deneuve and using supermodels such as Jerry Hall and Laetetia Casta to show off his clothes.
French leaders and fashion chiefs hailed Saint Laurent as a fashion revolutionary.
"One of the greatest names of fashion has disappeared, the first to elevate haute couture to the rank of art," said French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
"Yves Saint Laurent infused his label with his creative genius, elegant and refined personality, discreet and distinguished, during a half century of work, in both luxury and ready-to-wear, because he was convinced that beauty was a necessary luxury for all men and all women," Sarkozy said in a statement.
Berge said Saint Laurent "knew perfectly well that he had revolutionised haute couture, the important place he occupied in the second half of the 20th century".
"Yves St Laurent invented everything, revisited everything, transformed everything to the service of a passion, to let woman shine and to free her beauty and mystery," said Francois Pinault, head of the PPR fashion empire in a statement.
During his farewell in 2002, Saint Laurent said he had "always given the highest importance of all to respect for this craft, which is not exactly an art, but which needs an artist to exist."
[AFP / Expatica]