Beyond Grace

By the time Yves Saint Laurent retired, he had changed everything about fashion

When the couturier Christian Dior died suddenly of a heart attack at 57, a jittery, bespectacled Algerian-born 21-year-old had to put the Dior show together. He came up with the trapeze, a dress that by dint of its intricate silk, tulle and horsehair-hemmed organza underskirts seemed to float away from the body as if by magnetic force. It was a sensation. The fashion press, not given to understatement even in 1958, proclaimed, "Yves Saint Laurent has saved France." A new design legend had arrived.

He left last week, almost as abruptly, making the front pages again, even though his retirement...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!