Yves Saint Laurent
“Fashions fade, style is eternal.” So said Yves Saint Laurent, one of fashion’s greatest names, who died from brain cancer in June 2008. Laurent would have turned 80 this August. For many, the French-Algerian de ned how women dressed for several decades, ever since he launched his iconic and legendary Trapeze collection in 1958, aged just 21, for Christian Dior. He went on to dominate and radicalise women’s fashion in the 1960s and ’70s, introducing safari jackets, trench coats and leopard prints.
His designs often caused a stir. In the late 1960s, his suggestion that women could and would wear trousers every day was met with derision (but proved to be true), while his 1971 collection, inspired by 1940s style, was slammed by many and he was accused of romanticising the German occupation of France during the Second World War.
The 1980s were also a mixed bag for Saint Laurent. Highlights included becoming the rst living fashion designer to have a solo exhibition at ew York’s Metropolitan Museum f Art, but his pr t- -porter fashion show in ew York in 1987 was widely condemmed because it featured jewelled jackets worth $100,000 just days after the Black Monday stock market crash.
But the world never forgot his contribution to fashion, and he was given the rank of Commader of the Legion Of Honour (France’s military and civil merits), by then president Jac ues Chirac in 2001. He retired a year later and lived in ormandy and Morocco in his nal days with his French bulldog Moujik. “I participated in the transformation of my era,” he once said. “I did it with clothes, which is surely less important than music, architecture, painting… but whatever it’s worth I did it.”