Yves Saint Laurent dies aged 71

by Grant Osborne, 02nd June, 2008

Yves Saint Laurent died at his Paris home yesterday aged 71 after a long battle with illness. Saint Laurent retired in 2002 after a career spanning over forty years.

The fashion designer was born in Oran, Algeria on 1 August 193, when Algeria was still considered part of France. At 21 he showed his first collection for Dior and in 1962 set up his own couture house.

The first fragrance created by YSL was Y (1964). Subsequent launches included YSL pour Homme (1971), Rive Gauche (1971), Eau Libre (1976), Opium (1977), Kouros (1981) and Paris (1983).

In late 1986 Yves Saint Laurent acquired the Charles of the Ritz Group (the manufacturer of YSL fragrances) from Squibb, so that he could have control of his own fragrances - like many fashion houses responsible for the majority of profits. YSL sold the non-YSL portions of Ritz to Revlon.

In 1993 Yves Saint Laurent merged the company with Elf-Sanofi, creating the third largest prestige beauty company in the world (after Avon and L'Oreal). In 1999 the company was acquired PPR's Gucci Group. Saint Laurent retired in 2002.


Added: PPR released this statement: 

It is with great emotion that François Pinault and François-Henri Pinault have learned of the death of Yves Saint Laurent. With it, French fashion and indeed the world lose a genius.
A singular couturier who carried a revolutionary vision of fashion to the highest level, Yves Saint Laurent at once maintained traditions of excellence and invented new codes of French elegance. He invented, revised and ultimately transformed all at the service of a passion: to make women radiate and to expose their beauty and mystery. More than a great designer, in reality an immense artist has left us. Elevating fashion to a new form of art, Yves Saint Laurent expressed the evolution and the revolutions of society through his creations.
Yves Saint Laurent leaves us with a heritage for which we are forever indebted to him. The PPR Group and all who work at Yves Saint Laurent are imprinted with the spirit of his creation and invention. And each individual therein will endeavour to stay faithful to the style and grandeur of his legacy.
François Pinault and François-Henri Pinault extend their most sincere condolences to his family, to Pierre Bergé, and to all of his friends and associates.

Members of the Basenotes Community are wearing YSL fragrances today in his honour.

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