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YSL (Yves Saint-Laurant)

French fashion designer
Common clues: Fashionable monogram; Fashion letters.; Chic monogram; Designer initials; Haute couture monogram
Crossword puzzle frequency: 3 times a year
News: Did YSL blatantly violate the recently-enacted French model law?
Yves Saint-Laurent

It pains me physically to see a woman victimized, rendered pathetic, by fashion

~ Yves Saint Laurent

Yves Henri Donat Mathieu-Saint-Laurent, known as Yves Saint Laurent (August 1, 1936 – June 1, 2008), was a French fashion designer, one of the greatest names in fashion history. In 1985, Caroline Rennolds Milbank wrote, "The most consistently celebrated and influential designer of the past twenty-five years, Yves Saint Laurent can be credited with both spurring the couture's rise from its sixties ashes and with finally rendering ready-to-wear reputable." He is also credited with having introduced the tuxedo suit for women, became the first designer to use ethnic models in his runway shows, and referenced other non-European cultures in his work.

These trilogy of documentaries have been made about Saint Laurent's life: David Teboul's "Yves Saint Laurent: His Life and Times" (2002), "Yves Saint Laurent: 5 Avenue Marceau 75116 Paris" (2002), and Pierre Thoretton's "L'Amour Fou" (2009).

The Yves Saint Laurent boutique on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, California.

Yves Saint Laurent was born in Oran, Algeria; left for Paris after secondary school to pursue a fashion career; and at 17 was hired as couturier Christian Dior's assistant. When Dior died four years later, he was named head of the House of Dior. In 1961, Saint Laurent opened his own fashion house and quickly emerged as one of the world's most influential and spectacular designers.

In 1983, Saint Laurent became the first living fashion designer to be honored by the Metropolitan Museum of Art with a solo exhibition. In 2001, he was awarded the rank of Commander of the Légion d'Honneur by French president Jacques Chirac. He retired in 2002 and became increasingly reclusive, living at his homes in Normandy and Morocco with his pet French Bulldog Moujik.

He also created a foundation with Bergé in Paris to trace the history of the house of YSL, complete with 15,000 objects and 5,000 pieces of clothing.

A favorite among his female clientele, Saint Laurent had numerous muses that inspired his work. Chief among these was the Somali supermodel Iman, whom he once described as his "dream woman." Other muses included Loulou de la Falaise, the daughter of a French marquis and an Anglo-Irish fashion model; Betty Catroux, the half-Brazilian daughter of an American diplomat and wife of a French decorator; Talitha Pol-Getty; French actress Catherine Deneuve; Nicole Dorier, a YSL top model in 1978–83, who became one of his assistants in organizing his runway shows and, later, the "memory" of his house when it became a museum; Guinean-born Senegalese supermodel Katoucha Niane; supermodel Laetitia Casta, who was the bride in his shows in 1997–2002.

In 2007, he was awarded the rank of Grand officier de la Légion d'honneur by French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

He died June 1, 2008 of brain cancer at his residence in Paris. According to The New York Times, a few days before he died, Saint Laurent and Bergé were joined in a same-sex civil union known as a Pacte civil de solidarité (PACS) in France. He was survived by his mother and sisters; his father had died in 1988.

Yves' body was cremated and his ashes scattered in Marrakech, Morocco, in the Majorelle Garden, a botanical garden that he often visited to find inspiration and refuge. Bergé said at the funeral service: “But I also know that I will never forget what I owe you and that one day I will join you under the Moroccan palms” (translated from French). The funeral attendants included Empress Farah Pahlavi, Madame Chirac, and President Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife at the time. Forbes rated Saint Laurent the top-earning dead celebrity in 2009.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "YSL".