Yves Saint Laurent (August 1, 1936 _June 1, 2008 ), the French fashion designer who died on Sunday, was considered one of the foremost figures in French fashion in the 20th century. For many, he was the most influential designer of the past twenty-five years.
The legendary designer had a long association with Morocco which started when he first visited the country in the 1960’s. His fondness for Morocco was confirmed in th mid-eighties when he purchased an elegant Marrakech property and beauftiful surrounding gardens known as Majorelle
Marrakech: Final Resting Place
The son of a wealthy insurance company boss, Yves Saint Laurent was born in Oran, Algeria. He is said to have inherited his fashion sense from his mother. He left home at 17 to work for the French designer Christian Dior. Following Dior’s death in 1957, Yves, then aged 21, was charged with saving the House of Dior from financial disaster; this he achieved with great style and aplomb.
Not long after he was conscripted to serve in the French Army during the Algerian War of Independence. Within 3 weeks, he found the stress of army life too much and subsequently suffered a nervous breakdown, the first of many that were to bedevil his life.
In 1962, after recovering from his breakdown he was released from Dior so decided start his own label “YSL” which was financed by his companion, Pierre Bergé. During the 1960’s and 1970’s, YSL popularized many of the existing fashion trends. In 1966, Saint Laurent promoted ready-to-wear styles which he hoped would democratize fashion, making it available to all. With the skilful use of celebrity endorsements from some of the leading names in film and entertainment, he succeeded in making the YSL brand increasingly popular amongst the European jet-set and wealthy socialites.
In 1983, he became the first ever living fashion designer to be honoured by the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In 2001, he was awarded the rank of Commander of the Légion d’Honneur by the then French president Jacques Chirac.
When he retired from control of the company, Saint Laurent spent much of his time at Majorelle, his museum-like Marrakech property,. The house obviously had a big impact on him, so much so that it is understood that his ashes are to be placed in a vault in the stylish and elegant gardens which is a fitting resting place for one of the giants of 20th Century fashion.