Yves Saint Laurent | 1936-2008


PARIS, France – The inventor of modern-day ready-to-wear, the first designer to use black models on his runway, the first to bring androgyny to high fashion, the successor to Christian Dior, the first to license his name to other businesses, and one of the youngest designers ever to be at the helm of a major Parisian Haute Couture house, Yves Saint Laurent, died at his home on Sunday evening, June 1, 2008. 

Fans of YSL, or simply those who want to learn more, may want to check out the newly-opened (and, I guess, impeccably-timed) YSL retrospective at the Musée des Beaux Arts de Montréal which runs until September 28, 2008 and which is being planned in conjunction with La Fondation Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint Laurent.  Pierre Bergé himself was on-hand for the opening of the highly-acclaimed exhibit last week, and according to a friend on the organising team, he recounted some incredible stories about his life and times with Monsieur Saint Laurent.

Of course, tributes to YSL are pouring in  from up on high, from every corner of the fashion world. But, if you would like to pay your own personal tribute, please feel free to do so here and I will ensure that any tributes and comments are sent over to Montréal to be shared somehow as part of the retrospective.  It would be a fitting way to honour this legendary designer who was, above all, a man of the people, known for empowering women.

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  1. This is awful news, but the retrospective will now stand as a fitting tribute. I managed to catch the opening last Tuesday, when Bergé and Florence Muller both spoke for a while, and the whole thing was spectacular. I plan to return multiple times this summer. Love the blog, by the way – I just happened upon it today, and I’m already enthralled. Best, Jay

  2. I’ve been lucky enough to speak with M. St. Laurent twice…once during intermission at the opening of Sylvie Guillem’s Giselle. We were the first in the lobby, waiting for our respective friends. He asked me what I thought of the first act and we chit chatted ballet shop talk. And last fall I saw him at the George V with his cute French bulldog whom he let me pet and kiss while he had his drink at the bar. (Can’t resist a French bulldog). What a lovely, approachable, friendly man. With his talent (and tortured soul) he has every right to be stand offish or jaded or just distant. I have a feeling I’m not the only kind stranger he graced with his smile, dapper good looks and erudite conversation.

  3. I felt deeply saddened by the death of YSL. He was a fashion giant and revolutionized the way working women dress. Look around most offices today and you see women in pantsuits. YSL gave working women a lasting gift in designing clothes that allowed us to be both beautiful and powerful.

  4. It is the end of an era. YSL was an artist, not just an iconic designer. If not for the tuxedo, it is for these words that he has to be remembered “Le plus beau vêtement qui puisse habiller une femme, ce sont les bras de l’homme qu’elle aime. Mais pour celles qui n’ont pas eu la chance de trouver ce bonheur, je suis là”. Can’t imagine Michel Cors or Marc Jacobs articulate that.

    Lucy Bosscher from Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa
  5. Dear Author, Wow! Just like WWD or W, I have started this sincere comment with a capital W. Monsieur Saint Laurent is not only an underscore for fashion, but he will always be italicized in caps for anyone in the world who knows fashion and what it does that is so life changing. Fashion begins with the five senses and ends with an individualistic and personal aesthetics that define and label what some people find pleasurable and sublime in a moment or for a lifetime. Monsieur YSL is fashion embodied and we all are grateful for talent shared from the heart of a mortal genius. In my opinion, Monsieur YSL has proven to my research and development mindset that his genius is heartfelt, which ironically shows that numbers cannot quantify or qualify what fashion is worth to a designer like Monsieur YSL; eventhough many pundits are still trying with so many other designers in business or in a start-up even today. Fashion is always upcoming, subjective, and objective in all its exclusivity and mutual exclusivity as well-it’s all in the mind’s eye of its creator. God speed to a great man who knew what women wanted and who has given more to 50% percent of the sexes-a spark of his divine enlightenment. June, 03, 2008.

    Joseph Nieves Jr., Luxury Research, Inc. from Fremont, CA, United States