I was 22 when I showed up at Rue Spontini, where he was situated at the time. It was late 1965 and I had cut out from Elle Magazine a photo of a dress from the previous season's collection. Everyone was amused to see a practically unknown young woman buying herself an haute-couture dress, and on top of it a model which was almost a year old. It was a long white crêpe sheath with a red embroidered plastron - very Slav, very pure, very strict - which I wore in London when I was presented to Queen Elizabeth during the Royal Performance. [...]
That's when we met. And I continued to visit Saint Laurent, which was completely unreasonable given my means at the time. Don't forget that ready-to-wear was only introduced in 69-70.
- Catherine Deneuve
She has always been extraordinay for me. I've been dressing her since Belle de Jour, the film by Luis Buñuel. She has a wonderful charm and heart. For me, she is the greatest star in the world. We often write to each other. I call her Catherine, ma douceur (Catherine, my sweet), and she sends me pale roses.
- Yves Saint Laurent
Born in 1920 in Berlin, Newton bought his first camera at the age of 12 and photographed everything he saw in the street. In 1938, he escaped Nazi persecution and left for China and Singapore where he worked for the Straits Times before being fired for 'incompetence' after two weeks. After the war, he opened a studio in Australia and in 1947 married an actress, who would later become known as a photographer under the name Alice Springs.
He settled in Paris in 1956 and, with Jeanloup Sieff and Franck Horvat, contributed to a renewal of fashion photography by moving outside the confines of studios. From the mid-sixties, he shot iconic photographs for Yves Saint Laurent. The two men would collaborate throughout their careers. My admiration for Yves Saint Laurent was boundless. Didn't he dress my 'ideal woman' in the way that I wanted to photograph her? She was feminine, cool, sexy, demanding and yet accessible on the condition of making an effort and coming up with cash.
During the course of my 23 years of regular work with Vogue, I had set the mission for myself of celebrating the 30- to 32-year-old woman. The one from the 16th arrondissement who has too much money, too much time and who is looking for adventure.
Who could better embody her than the Catherine Deneuve of Luis Buñuel's film Belle de Jour?
- Helmut Newton, in Le Monde
Yves Saint Laurent outfitted Margot Fonteyn for the stage as well as her private life.
I felt his magician's power by observing Margot Fonteyn,who had the habit of disapearing from time to time and of returing each time armed with a new, precise, subtle elegance. She'd come back from seeing Yves. That unique conjunction of discipline and luxurious ease with austerity completely charmed me. Then I met the man : pale, witty, generous, a man with a ferocious energy hidden beneath his delicate calm.”
- Rudolf Nureyev
He had a precise eye, meaning cruel. He missed nothing and would spare neither his friends, nor his admirers.[...]
With Paul Morrissey, he participated in making some part-scandalous, part-avant-gardiste films. He loved pornographic movies and took me to see Deep Throat as soon as it was released. In Europe, he discovered a world he did not know, but had dreamed of. A pure product of America, he had a certain idea of culture. Did he know that ours was coming to an end? That everything that fascinated him - haute couture, art deco, the bar of the Ritz, the café Florian - would soon mean nothing? It is far from certain. [...]
Bit by bit, as a result of being fashionable, he has become fodder for tabloids. Like a bullfighter, a dancer, a singer or a couturier. In a word, he has become a star. What a destiny for this immigrant's son who began by drawing shoes and ended up painting the First Lady of the United States. He deserved better than this reputation. Posterity will judge and will recognize him as a major artist of our times, unless it mistakes him for a maker of contemporary art. Which he absolutely wasn't.
- Excerpt from Les jours s'en vont je demeure by Pierre Bergé
He's the complete artist. Not just a painter, but an artist. His life, his films, his posters; all stand for generosity. And for madness too. You can't be an artist unless you're a little mad.
- Yves Saint Laurent
“It sounds like a joke, but he picked me up at Régine's night club through a mutual friend.”
The tall young blond woman with the neverending legs would become one of Yves Saint Laurent's muses, always striking in one of his signature smokings. We were like brother and sister, like twins. We were so alike. We had fun together, doing crazy things and being silly. And we were both full of anguish at that age. So we shared that too.
- Betty Catroux
Loulou is the daughter of Count Alain de la Falaise and former Schiaparelli model Maxime Birley. Yves Saint Laurent's muse, Loulou de la Falaise arrived in the fashion house in 1972. She designed over 300 articles of jewelry every year and was in charge of the maille line. Loulou de la Falaise's true talent, apart from her evident professional qualities, is charm. Particular. Moving. The strange power of her gift for lightness, melded with the impeccable acuity of her eye for fashion. Intuitive, innate, particular. Her presence at my side is a dream.
- Yves Saint Laurent
After each collection, Yves says, 'I've said all I have to say.' And the next collection comes along and there's Yves with a bunch of sketches and off we go again. Not being a very happy person himself, he seems to live vicariously the lives of these women who change all the time, who are constantly excited about life - they're not real women in particular, not me, not his clients, they're life. Afterwards, when we've started working, he can say : this one is for that woman. Yves senses things a little like a fortune-teller.
- Loulou de la Falaise
Talitha Pol Getty and her husband Paul Jr were a part of the foreign community of Marrakesh. Born in Java to Dutch parents, Talitha spent her early years in a Japanese prisoner of war camp with her mother, while her father, the painter William Pol, was incarcerated in another camp. After the war, she lived in England with her father. In 1966, she married J. Paul Getty Jr, the third of five sons of the oil baron.
They spent their time between their homes in Rome in Marrakesh. Yves Saint Laurent saw the great beauty with brown hair and almond eyes as a modern embodiment of F. Scott Fitzgerald's heroines. Mick Jagger and Marianne Faithfull, and the American interior designer Bill Willis were a part of the small group of visitors who would spend evenings at Darr el-Hansh, Pierre Bergé and Yves Saint Laurent's Marrakesh getaway, listening to Maria Callas on the terrace...
One night in Paris, after a performance of Notre Dame de Paris, directed by Roland Petit and starring Rudolf Nureyev with Claire Motte, Talitha, Paul, Pierre Bergé and Yves Saint Laurent walked Nureyev back to the Ritz Hotel. Seeking to impress Thalita, Nureyev made an improvised performance of Petrushka on the cobblestones of the Place Vendôme...
On July 11th, 1971, Talitha was found dead in her Rome apartment from a heroin overdose.
Charlotte Aillaud, a faithful friend since 1967, is the sister of the singer Juliette Greco. Yves is a solitary figure, but he feels the need to see his dresses on people. His relationship with the world is very esthetic.
He loves special moments. Inviting people to his place for 48 hours. He likes people to be beautiful. It is a gratifying experience for him.
- Charlotte Aillaud
" Quand j'ai rencontré Yves Saint Laurent, c'était à l'occasion d'une pièce pour la télévision américaine avec lui et trois autres couturiers. J'ai présenté les pantalons et je disais "pants, pants, pants !", Il a créé mon premier smoking et personne en 1968 ne s'habillait comme ça. Moi j'adore ca, tout le monde en pantalon, toutes les femmes et Yves est un maître dans ce domaine, c'est le meillleur."
Paloma Picasso is the daughter of Pablo Picasso and Françoise Gilot. She met Yves Saint Laurent during a visit with her mother to his fashion house at Hôtel Forain.
He's made me laugh, smile and cry with emotion, never with sorrow, on many occasions. I have to admit that I'm a slave to his charm - but how could I not be, when with the models he dedicates to me, I become more Carmen, more 40's, more toreador, more subdued, more theatrical, more myself, really, with each collection.
- Paloma Picasso