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Fashion world, stars bid 'adieu' to Yves Saint Laurent

Latest update : 2008-06-05

At a memorial service attended by stars of the film and fashion worlds, hundreds paid tribute to fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent at a funeral service at Saint-Roch church in Paris.

 

France said farewell to fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent at a memorial service on Thursday attended by stars of the worlds of fashion and film including long-time friend and fan Catherine Deneuve.

 

French media have carried long tributes to Saint Laurent since his death from a brain tumour was announced late on Sunday and a large crowd of reporters and onlookers gathered near the Paris church of Saint Roch where the ceremony was held.

 

Office workers and residents of nearby buildings leaned out of their windows as police held crowds back. The service was broadcast live to a giant screen outside the church, whose entrance was lined with big bouquets of flowers.

 

Deneuve gave a reading during the service, followed by Saint Laurent's long-time partner and business associate Pierre Berge.

 

"You could have slid into fashions at times, but instead you remained faithful to your own style, and you were quite right, for that style is now everywhere, perhaps not in fashion but in the streets of the whole world," Berge said.

 

Hailed as one of the great couturiers of the 20th century, Saint Laurent was part of a distinguished line of French designers from Coco Chanel to Christian Dior who consolidated the reputation of Paris as the fashion capital of the world.

 

A shy and reclusive figure in his later years with few close friends, his rank in the fashion world could nonetheless be gauged from the array of celebrities at Saint Roch, a church traditionally associated with artists and musicians.

 

Screen legend Jeanne Moreau graced the occasion, along with models Laetitia Casta and Carla Bruni, now the wife of President Nicolas Sarkozy who also attended.

 

Designers Christian Lacroix and Jean-Paul Gaultier were among stars of the fashion world who joined the mourners.

 

Saint Laurent's body is to be cremated and the ashes spread in the garden of his villa in the Moroccan city of Marrakesh.

 

The oldest child of a rich French industrialist, Saint Laurent was born and grew up in Algeria, then a French colony, and showed an early talent for design, making clothes for his younger sisters' dolls.

 

After moving to Paris at the age of 17, he was hired by Christian Dior and soon became chief designer, producing a stream of acclaimed collections under the Dior label before striking out under his own name in 1962.

 

With Berge taking care of the management side, Saint Laurent built up the YSL brand into one of the world's most widely recognised fashion labels with hallmark designs like his women's tuxedo and trouser suits.

 

However he struggled with alcohol and drug problems as well as ill health and he became disillusioned with the fashion scene after he retired from designing in 2002.

Date created : 2008-06-05

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