Yves Mathieu-Saint-Laurent, known as Yves Saint Laurent, born August 1, 1936 in Oran, Algeria2,3 and died June 1, 2008 in Paris, France, is a great French couturier, one of the most famous in the world and whose haute couture collections are part of the history of the 20th century. Yves Mathieu-Saint-Laurent was born in Oran where he spent his youth, before arriving in Paris to work at Dior. A gifted designer, his influence grew in this house until he replaced Christian Dior when the designer suddenly died. Yves Saint Laurent enjoyed a triumph there at the age of only twenty-one, from the first “Trapèze” collection. A few years later, he left the prestigious house on Avenue Montaigne to found the company that bears his name, with his companion Pierre Bergé who would never leave him until his death. The first haute couture collection was presented in 1962; it will be followed by the Mondrian dress or the “Pop Art” collection which recall his taste for art, then The tuxedo and the pantsuit inherited from the male wardrobe, the Saharan that he transforms from a functional garment into an element chic, the thigh-high boots, the transparent blouses that caused so much ink to flow in the press in the midst of the sexual revolution… Passionate about exoticism throughout his life, he was the first to hire models of Asian origin or African. Modernist and in tune with his time, he created in parallel with haute couture, his luxury ready-to-wear under the name of left bank; this one will become an example for many other couturiers. During those years, Yves Saint Laurent discovered Morocco, where he bought the Majorelle garden fifteen years later. In the 1970s, the “Liberation” collection made an impression; subsequently, several other parades pay tribute to painters, such as Matisse or Van Gogh, to his distant inspirations such as Russia with the “Opera-Ballets-Russes” collection or Asia, a collection symbolized by the Opium perfume. He also knows the excesses of alcohol, drugs, medication, his "false friends". During the following decade, he presented the “Picasso” collection once again a reference to art. During these years, the company grew through the success of perfumes, cosmetics and accessories. The couturier was then awarded a fashion Oscar. At the end of the 1990s, tired of designing ready-to-wear, he concentrated on haute couture, finally abandoning it in 2002. Perpetually surrounded and inspired by women, from Victoire to Betty Catroux, from Catherine Deneuve to Katoucha, Yves Saint Laurent knows during his career how to create for them, and on his death in 2008 left a major legacy for fashion as well as many classics of the female wardrobe. Museums, cinema and publishers will never stop paying homage to him.
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