( b. Aug 01, 1936 Oran, ALGERIA - d. Jun 01, 2008 Paris, FRANCE ) Male
Yves Saint Laurent, exploded on the fashion scene in 1958 as the boy-wonder successor to Christian Dior and endured as one of the best-known and most influential couturiers of the second half of the 20th century.
During a career that ran from 1957 to 2002 he was largely responsible for changing the way modern women dress, putting them into pants both day and night, into peacoats and safari jackets, into “le smoking” (as the French call a man’s tuxedo jacket), and into leopard prints, trench coats and, for a time in the 1970s, peasant-inspired clothing in rich fabrics.
Mr. Saint Laurent achieved instant fame in 1958 at the age of 21 when he showed his Trapeze collection, his first for Christian Dior following the master’s death. But unlike many overnight sensations, Mr. Saint Laurent managed to remain at the top of his profession as fashion changed from an emphasis on formal, custom-made haute couture to casual sportswear.
For many years after he opened his own couture house, in 1962, his collections were eagerly anticipated by fashion enthusiasts, who considered his the final word on that season’s style. His influence was at its height during the 1960s and ’70s, when it was still normal for couturiers to change silhouettes and hemlines drastically every six months.
Originally a maverick and a generator of controversy — in 1968, his suggestion that women wear pants as an everyday uniform was considered revolutionary — Mr. Saint Laurent developed into a more conservative designer, a believer in evolution rather than revolution. He often said that all a woman needed to be fashionable was a pair of pants, a sweater and a raincoat.
By 1983, when he was 47, his work was recognized by fashion scholars as so fundamentally important to women’s dress that a retrospective of his designs was held at the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the first time the museum had honored a living designer. Diana Vreeland, the legendary magazine editor and the doyenne of the Costume Institute, who masterminded the exhibition, called him “a living genius” and “the Pied Piper of fashion.” He was credited by many with rejuvenating French fashion and securing his country’s pre-eminent position in the world of haute couture.
source: New York Times obit
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