French Fashion King Dies

Posted on: 04 June 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves

The greatest fashion designer of the 21st Century dies after a long illness.

Yves Saint Laurent has died at the age of 71 in Paris.

Considered by many as the greatest fashion designer of the 20th Century, Saint Laurent changed the face of the fashion industry when he became chief designer of the House of Dior at just 21.

He died on Sunday evening at his home in the French capital after a long illness and after retiring from haute couture in 2002.

Yves Saint Laurent's elegant style

Born in the Algerian city of Oran at a time when the North African country was a French colony, he designed clothes that reflected women’s changing role in society; more confident personally, sexually and in the work-place.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy was one of the first to pay tribute to Sanit Laurent’s “creative genius”.

“He was the first to elevate haute couture to the rank of art and that gave him global influence.

Yves Saint Laurent's trouser suits“Yves Saint Laurent infused his label with his creative genius, elegant and refined personality because he was convinced that beauty was a necessary luxury for all men and all women,” said Sarkozy.

Saint Laurent changed what women wore, introducing trouser suits, safari jackets and sweaters whilst making ready-to-wear design popular.

He was a precocious talent and his first collection caused a sensation with its gently flared dresses and jackets that set the mould for 1950s fashion, whilst working for Christian Dior.

Within three years, Dior had died and YSL had taken his place, taking the world by storm.

Yves Saint Laurent styleIn Caroline Rennolds Milbank’s 1985 book “Couture: The Great Fashion Designers”, Millbank wrote, “The most consistently celebrated and influential designer of the past twenty-five years, Yves Saint Laurent can be credited with both spurring the couture’s rise from its 60s ashes and with finally rendering ready-to-wear reputable”.

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