Yves Saint Laurent a biography Author:Alice Rawsthorn, Alice Rawsthorn Yves Saint Laurent is arguably the greatest fashion designer of this century. World-renowned since the age of twenty-one, when he shot to fame as the savior of Christian Dior, he has changed the way that women dress with a series of innovations--from trouser suits and leather boots to peasant shawls and safari jackets--now regarded as classics. ... more »His business empire has become a role model for the fashion and beauty industries, establishing Rive Gauche as the first chain of ready-to-wear boutiques, launching Opium as a bestselling perfume, and opening up the vast Asian market.
Raised in colonial Algeria, Saint Laurent was taken on by Dior as an assistant while studying in Paris as a teenager. Hailed as a hero in France for saving the company after Dior's death, his world collapsed when he was conscripted into the French army. Saint Laurent broke down and was committed to a military hospital where he was brutally treated. His lover, Pierre BergÚ, rescued him and set him up in his own couture house. Thanks to Saint Laurent's genius and BergÚ's business acumen, their company dominated fashion throughout the 1960s and '70s, making them fabulously wealthy. But the pressures of fame and the commercial constraints of fashion took a toll on Saint Laurent. The charismatic young man who partied with Rudolf Nureyev and Andy Warhol fell prey to addiction and depression, retreating from the world to live as a recluse, while Pierre BergÚ became a force in the French arts and in politics. As Saint Laurent withdrew, his financial affairs came under scrutiny, culminating in the political storm over the sale of his empire in 1993 to a state-controlled company.
Alice Rawsthorn has followed the fashion industry for many years for the Financial Times of London, and her unique access has enabled her to write this biography, the first full account of Saint Laurent's life and business. Full of the drama and excitement of the fashion scene, Yves Saint Laurent is the remarkable story of a remarkable man.« less