"What I would like to do is to go away, go away for a long time, without doing anything in particular, forget everything, and then come back to see if I still want to make dresses."
- Yves Saint Laurent's reply on a questionnaire that is part of an exhibition of his works at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
Yves Saint Laurent, born Aug 1st, 1936. He left home at the age of 17 to work for the French designer Christian Dior. Following Dior's death in 1957, Yves, at the age of 21, was responsible for saving the Dior house from financial ruin. In 1983, he became the first living fashion designer to be honored by the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
In 2001, he was awarded the rank of Commander of the Légion d'Honneur by French president Jacques Chirac.
YSL had been the first to put women in pants, the first to give them tuxedos, and the first to use black models for his catwalk shows. He was a pioneer and a legend.
Yves Saint Laurent retired in 2002 and became increasingly reclusive. Paying tribute to his mentors, including Christian Dior, Balenciaga, Schiaparelli and Chanel, he said that his decision was based on a disgust with an industry that had become ruled more by commercial gain than art. "I have nothing in common with this new world of fashion, which has been reduced to mere window-dressing," he said. "Elegance and beauty have been banished."
From then until his death he spent much of his time at his house in Marrakech, Morocco. He later created a foundation with his lover and business partner, Pierre Bergé in Paris to trace the history of the house of YSL, complete with 15,000 objects and 5,000 pieces of clothing.
He lost his battle with brain cancer on June 1, 2008 at his home in Paris.
The world of fashion was deeply changed because of YSL's genius and for that, he will live on forever.