French fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent dead at 71

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Sunday, June 1, 2008

An Yves Saint-Laurent boutique in Beverly Hills, California.

Yves Saint-Laurent, one of the major fashion designers of the 20th century, died Sunday evening of cancer at the age of 71, after four decades at the top of his profession. Friends say he died while at his home in Paris, France.

Saint-Laurent was born Yves Henri Donat Dave Mathieu-Saint-Laurent on August 1, 1936 in Oran, Algeria. Saint-Laurent was famous for designing women's clothing and at age 21 he became the head designer for the company House of Dior. He was hired to take the place of the late Christian Dior, who died in 1957.

He retired from his job there and ultimately left the fashion industry in 2002, but not before starting his own clothing line and shop with Pierre Berge in 1962. It was once rumored that woman who wore his newly designed pantsuits were not allowed to eat at restaurants or stay in hotels in New York City and London, England.

"Fashion was not only supposed to make women beautiful, but to reassure them, to give them confidence, to allow them to come to terms with themselves," Saint-Laurent once said.

Saint-Laurent not only fought the effects of cancer, but through the years dealt with drug use and depression.

"I've known fear and terrible solitude. Tranquilizers and drugs, those phony friends. The prison of depression and hospitals. I've emerged from all this, dazzled but sober," stated Saint-Laurent.


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