French fashion king Yves Saint Laurent has died at the age of 71 [...] [his] death on Sunday was announced without any details of the cause, [but he] was plagued by health problems. "(Coco) Chanel gave women freedom. Yves Saint Laurent gave them power," Saint Laurent's long-time friend and business partner Pierre Berge told France Info radio."(But) he was someone who was very shy and introverted, who had only very few friends and hid himself from the world."At 17 pied noir Yves entered a Paris fashion school, and his sketch for a cocktail dress won first prize in an annual contest. Introduced to Christian Dior, Saint Laurent was hired on the spot as his chief assistant, so impressed was Dior. On Dior's death in 1957, Saint Laurent took over as chief designer at the tender age of 21.
He then opened his own house in 1962 to roaring success, introducing Le Smoking for women, the Trapeze collection, the dresses inspired by Mondrian, the Safari... In 1983, he became the first living fashion designer to be honored by the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
In 1992, YSL was absorbed by cosmetics and drugs company Sanofi, while Saint Laurent retained creative control. Then in 1999 the brand was bought by the Gucci group, itself controlled by French luxury giant PPR while Yves formally retired in 2002. In 2001, he was awarded the rank of Commander of the Légion d'Honneur by French president Jacques Chirac.
His motto "We must never confuse elegance with snobbery" resonates with true style.
Yves has been a fashion and design icon for me ever since I came to see his beautiful designs and smell his legendary Opium, which has been my ally and companion ever since I remember myself, and PerfumeShrine will dedicate a small tribute to Yves in the coming days as a small token of admiration and gratitude. Personally I propose canonisation as well...Please take a look at this excellent site: the YSL Foundation founded by him with Pierre Bergé and this article by the New York Times.
Pic of young Yves courtesy of Getty images. Pic of this beautiful YSL couture gown sent to me by mail by arch-admirer of YSL "Armanis" (M) with fond gratitute for knowledge and taste in matters of fashion.