Yves Saint Laurent, one of the world's leading fashion designers, has announced his retirement at the age of 65. Paul Miller reports from Paris that the man who made the pant suit acceptable business wear for women and the tuxedo evening wear for both sexes has become almost synonymous with French haute couture.
French fashion analysts say Yves Saint Laurent defined what 20th century women wore. He has said his designs allowed women to have the same assurance with their clothes that men had. Women who wore his clothes said he was one designer who actually seemed to like women and wanted them to be comfortable.
Mr. Saint Laurent, who inherited the mantle of Coco Chanel as the quintessential French designer, won the Legion d'Honneur in 1985. He also was the subject of the first-ever show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York honoring a living fashion designer.
French Museum curators say his genius was not in being the first to invent a style, but in making the style fit the times and the clients. His shows included see-through clothing in the 1960's, peasant dresses in the 70's, pant suits and tuxedos for women. In recent years he and the avant-garde part of the industry parted company, although he had a large and devoted clientele.
He sold the YSL label in 1999, and it will continue. Only his haute couture business in the heart of Paris will close. Before it does, however, there will be a final show of clothes designed by Yves Saint Laurent, at the spring/summer season shows later this month in Paris.