Yves Saint Laurent

Legendary designer

Saint Laurent was hailed as the most influential and enduring designer of his time.

2002, the Paris-based haute couture house he had founded 40 years earlier, is mourned in the fashion world.

Born in Oran, Algeria, he first emerged as a promising designer at the age of 17.

So impressed with Saint Laurent's talent, Christian Dior, hired him on the spot. The trapeze dress — with its narrow shoulders and wide, swinging skirt — was a hit. Saint Laurent's gift to fashion was that he empowered women.

By putting a woman in a man's tuxedo, he changed fashion forever, in a style that was never dated.

He felt fashion was not only supposed to make women beautiful, but to reassure them, to give them confidence and to allow them to come to terms with themselves.

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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.

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