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Fashion world mourns as legendary designer Yves Saint Laurent dies

June 1, 2008
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French fashion legend Yves Saint Laurent, the famed courtier who redefined women's haute couture in the Sixties and influenced a generation of designers, passed away at home in Paris on Sunday at the age of 71.

The designer's friend and former business partner Pierre Berge said the style icon had succumbed to a long illness. No other details were given. Saint Laurent had retired from the business in 2002 and been unwell for some time.

Tributes for the innovative designer, who changed the face of women's fashion when he became Dior's chief designer at the age of 21, have been flooding in. Among those paying homage was France's President Nicolas Sarkozy, who hailed him as "the first to elevate haute couture to the rank of art", something which gave him "global influence".

"Yves Saint Laurent infused his label with his creative genius, elegant and refined personality," he added, "because he was convinced beauty was a necessary luxury for all men and all women."

In the course of a career spanning almost five decades the Algerian-born designer was responsible for some of the 20th century's best known classics, including his trouser suits, safari jackets and elgant tuxedos. And it was the women he empowered whom he credited for firing his imagination. "I found my style through women," he once said. "That's where its strength and vitality comes from."

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Photo: ©
The French design maestro, who revolutionised the way women dressed and inspired a generation of designers in the course of his five-decade-long career, died at his Paris home on Sunday after a long illness. He had been unwell for some time Photo: © Rex

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