Jun 1, 2008
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Yves Saint Laurent timeline

Jun 1, 2008

PARIS, June 2, 2008 (AFP) - Key dates in the life of Yves Saint Laurent, the French fashion designer who died Sunday June the 1st aged 71:

- 1936: Born on August 1, in Oran, Algeria.

- 1954: Moves to Paris to study design and wins three of the four first prizes in the International Wool Secretariat competition.

- 1955: Hired as a design assistant by Christian Dior.

Yves Saint Laurent in the 50's - Photo : AFP

- 1957: Dior dies unexpectedly in Italy, and Saint Laurent is appointed the house's chief designer.

- 1958: First couture collection for Dior, the Trapeze Line, receives rave reviews. Meets future lover and business partner, Pierre Berge.

- 1960: Outrages conservative Dior clientele and executives with his "Beat Look" drawn from the streets of Paris. Is conscripted into the French army in September but has a nervous breakdown and is exempted two months later.

- 1961: Saint Laurent and Berge start living together and found the couture house. Saint Laurent wins a lawsuit against Dior for unfair dismissal. Designs costumes for a Roland Petit ballet and a Zizi Jeanmaire revue.

- 1962: First own-label couture show in January receives mixed reviews.

- 1964: Launch of "Y", his first perfume.

- 1965: His "Mondrian" dresses take Paris by storm in the July couture show. Begins long association and friendship with actress Catherine Deneuve by designing her costume for Luis Bunuel film's "Belle de Jour."

- 1966: The spring couture show features the first tuxedo for women, while the controversial autumn collection is inspired by Andy Warhol.

- 1968: The "safari look" and first see-through dress cause a sensation at the spring collection. Dedicates his autumn range to the student protestors of May 1968, including duffle coats and fringed jackets.

- 1969: Launches Rive Gauche men's range. Rive Gauche boutique opens in London.

- 1971: Poses naked for an advertisement for the first YSL for Men fragrance. Launches "Rive Gauche" perfume.

- 1973: After a period of doing only ready-to-wear, returns to couture.

- 1974: Moves premises to Avenue Marceau in Paris's eighth district.

- 1977: Launch of the perfume "Opium". The first of many rumours circulates to the effect that Saint Laurent has died.

- 1982: Twentieth anniversary gala at the Paris Lido.

- 1983: Launch of "Paris" perfume. YSL becomes the first designer to have a retrospective dedicated to his work in his own lifetime. In New York, where it opens, it is seen by a million people.

- 1985: Awarded the French Legion d'Honneur.

- 1986: Italian industrialist Carlo de Benedetti takes a 25 percent stake in YSL and helps finance a 630 million dollar buy-out of the perfume interests from the American outfit, Squibb.

- 1989: Unfounded press reports claim Saint Laurent is suffering from AIDS.

- 1990: Speculation about his health continues after he breaks down at his home in Marrakesh and is admitted to hospital in Paris. Fails to attend ready-to-wear show due to nervous exhaustion.

- 1991: Saint Laurent discusses his drug problems and homosexuality for the first time in an interview with the newspaper Le Figaro.

- 1993: YSL is sold to Sanofi for 650 million dollars. January couture collection is dedicated to Rudolf Nureyev, the Russian ballet dancer who recently died of AIDS. Launch of the women's perfume "Champagne", leading to an ultimately successful lawsuit by producers of champagne wine over the use of the name.

- 1994: Successfully sues Ralph Lauren for copying a tuxedo dress design.

- 1995: Launches "Opium for Men" and relaunches the female version.

- 1999: Israeli-born Alber Elbaz makes his debut as designer for the ready-to-wear label in the spring collections. Gucci complete the takeover of Sanofi, the parent company of YSL and appoint their own creative director, Tom Ford.

- 2000: Ford is appointed to replace Berge as head of collections and named design and communications head for Yves Saint Laurent Couture and perfumes. A YSL museum opens in Paris.

- 2001: Saint Laurent celebrates his 65th birthday.

- 2002: In January, he marks the 40th anniversary of his couture house, and formally announces his retirement.

- 2007: Saint Laurent dies on June 1 in Paris, the Pierre-Berge-Saint Laurent Foundation says.

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