Fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent died Sunday at age 71.
Born in French Algeria in 1936, Saint Laurent moved to Paris at age 17 to study under Christian Dior. In 1962 he formed his own couture label, YSL, and then in 1966 a ready-to-wear label called Rive Gauche.
He dressed many a stylish woman in the 1960s and 1970s. Yves Saint Laurent is probably best remembered for Le Smoking, his classic tuxedo suit for women. French actress Catherine Deneuve was among his many celebrity clients. When you see pictures of Catherine Deneuve during that time, she is usually wearing Saint Laurent.
Saint Laurent described his desire to achieve harmony between body and garment by calling it “the total silence of clothing.”
Among his many firsts:
- He was the first designer to make ready-to-wear respectable.
- He is credited as the first designer to employ black models in his runway shows.
- He was the first living fashion designer to be honored at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Yves Saint Laurent retired in 2002 but his fashion house lives on.
Here are some pictures from the 2008 Fall Ready-to-Wear Collection by Stefano Pilati: