Paris (AFP) – Ahead of the opening of museums in Paris and Marrakesh dedicated to the work of Yves Saint Laurent, here are some milestones in the life of the fashion icon.
– Starting out –
– He is born on August 1, 1936 in Algeria’s Mediterranean city of Oran and named Yves-Mathieu Saint-Laurent.
– In his late teens, he moves to Paris in 1954 to study design and wins three of the four first prizes in the prestigious International Wool Secretariat competition for rising fashion talent.
– In 1955 Saint Laurent is hired as a design assistant by Christian Dior. Two years later, when Dior dies unexpectedly, he is appointed chief designer.
– Making a name –
– His first solo collection for Dior, in 1958, is the Trapeze Line of narrow shoulders and wide skirts that receives rave reviews, launching his name. The same year he meets future lover and business partner, Pierre Berge.
– He and Berge start living together in 1961 and found the Yves Saint Laurent (YSL) luxury couture house.
– His 1966 spring show features the first tuxedo for women, upending the rules at a time when most women did not wear pants. The first Saint Laurent ready-to-wear shop opens on Paris’ Left Bank the same year.
– The “safari look” and first see-through dress cause a sensation at his spring collection of 1968.
– 1971, in his mid-thirties, he poses naked for an advert for his first fragrance for men, “YSL pour Homme”.
– His perfume for women, “Opium”, is launched in 1977, to become an enduring worldwide success.
– In 1983 Saint Laurent becomes the first designer to have a retrospective dedicated to his work in his own lifetime. The exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum in New York is visited by a million people.
– Towards retirement –
– YSL is sold to French industrial group Elf-Sanofi in 1993 for $650 million.
– Gucci completes a takeover of Sanofi, parent company of YSL, in 1999 and appoints Tom Ford as creative director.
– Saint Laurent marks the 40th anniversary of his fashion house on January 22, 2002, and formally announces his retirement, bringing down the curtain on an unparallelled career.
– He dies on June 1, 2008 at his home in Paris, aged 71, suffering a brain tumour. His funeral is attended by celebrities and some of the biggest names in fashion.