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Gay History, Gay Celebrities, Gay Icons

Gay History celebrates the lives of famous gay men, gay celebrities and gay icons from the worlds of Film/TV, Art, Design, Music, Literature, Business and Politics. 200+ Intimate Profiles - Tchaikovsky to George Michael, Oscar Wilde to Truman Capote, Salvador Dali to David Hockney, Yves St Laurent to Gianni Versace, Rock Hudson to Stephen Fry to name but a few - they form a vast and exciting part of gay history.
Yves Henri Donat Mathieu Saint Laurent

Life Span: Born 1st August 1936, Oran, Algeria

Star Sign: Leo
Famous As: French fashion designer
Childhood: Saint Laurent's mother, Lucienne Saint Laurent, was a beauty and socialite. His father, Charles Saint Laurent, owned a chain of cinemas. His great-great grandfather was the lawyer who drew up the wedding contract between Napoleon Bonaparte and Josephine. Saint Laurent was bullied at school, and he has blamed this on his homosexuality.

Education: In 1954 he moved to Paris to study at the Ecole de la Chambre Syndicale.

Work: Saint Laurent had wanted to become a theatre set designer, but in 1953 at the age of 17 he won third prize in a prestigious fashion competition for the Wool Secretariat for a little black cocktail dress. He showed talent and was hired by the great Christian Dior. In October 1957 Saint Laurent was left in charge while Dior went holiday but Dior died of a heart attack. On 15th. November Yves Saint Laurent was named as his successor and became the youngest ever couturier.
Saint Laurent's first collection was the Trapeze line which was very successful and pushed up sales by 35 per cent. It was at this time that he met Pierre Bergé who was then the manager and lover of the dreadful Parisian painter Bernard Buffet. However Bernard Buffet met his future wife and Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé got together and soon began to live together.
In 1960 Yves Saint Laurent began his national service but after 20 days he suffered a nervous breakdown and spent some time in hospital. In 1961 Saint Laurent set up his own couture house with Pierre Bergé who supplied financial backing. There followed several ground-breaking fashion moments -in 1965 hecreated the first female tuxedo, in 1966 he was the first couturier to open a ready-to-wear boutique and in 1968 he was the first couturier to use transparent material. He also invented the trouser suit for women.
In 1976 Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé split up, although Pierre Bergé did not moved out of their joint home until 1986. Pierre Bergé continued to be his business manager but Saint Laurent, never in the best of health and of a rather delicate disposition, appeared in public much less frequently. Saint Laurent came out publicly as gay in an interview for the French daily newspaper Le Figaro in 1991.
The fashion house was sold to the pharmaceuticals company Sanofi for £409 million and in 1997 the a donation of £1 million from Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé allowed the Yves Saint Laurent room to be opened in the French-painting wing of the National Gallery in London. In January 2000 the modern art museum was opened in the Pompidou Centre in Paris after the two had partly sponsored the refurbishment.
Gucci acquired YSL's ready-to-wear and perfume businesses and Francois Pinault took over Saint Laurent's haute couture house in 1999.
On St Valentine's Day in 2000 mail was stamped in France with designs based on his Pop Art heart images from the 1970s and Saint Laurent's portrait appears on the last-ever 5, 10, and 50 franc pieces to be minted before the introduction of the euro. The Yves Saint Laurent Museum in the Paris suburbs contains 5,000 outfits, 2,000 pairs of shoes, and over 10,000 pieces of jewellery.
In January 2002 Yves Saint Laurent announced his retirement. His final fashion show was held at the Centre Pompidou in Paris on 22nd January.

Friends & Relationships: Saint Laurent lived for many years with Pierre Bergé.

Finest Achievement: The revolutionary introduction of men's clothes for women - trouser suits, safari suits and tuxedos.

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