Page last updated at 06:54 GMT, Monday, 2 June 2008 07:54 UK

In pictures: Yves Saint Laurent

Yves Saint Laurent in 1954 with the prize-winning cocktail dress design that attracted Dior's attention

A prize-winning design for a cocktail dress caught the eye of the Dior fashion house in 1954 and the teenage Yves Saint Laurent's career in Paris was assured.

Yves Saint Laurent aged 21

He had come to Paris from French Algeria, the son of a wealthy businessman. At Dior, he rose to become chief designer within three years, taking over from Christian Dior after his sudden death.

A model wears an African-style Saint Laurent dress, New York, 1967

His dresses caught the world's imagination. Here a model wears an African-style creation in New York, 1967.

Pinstriped trouser

Yves Saint Laurent designed clothes that reflected women's changing role in society.

Yves Saint Laurent launching a store in London

The 1970s saw his empire grow as he launched a perfume, Rive Gauche, in 1971 followed up by Opium in 1977.

Yves Saint Laurent in 1984

The 1980s saw the designer still in his element. In 1985, he was awarded the French Legion d'Honneur.

A model presents a light black evening dress with a muslin veil during French designer Yves Saint-Laurent Haute Couture spring/summer 2000 collection presented in Parison 19 January 2000.

He was fascinated with black, as here in this evening dress with a muslin veil - one of the highlights of the spring/summer 2000 collection.

French designer Yves Saint Laurent kisses model Claudia Schiffer, on January 22 1997 in Paris, after the presentation of his Spring-summer Haute Couture collection

Here, he is seen kissing the hand of Claudia Schiffer in this glamorous dress.

Yves Saint Laurent blows a kiss at his Fall Winter 2000-2001 Haute Couture collection in Paris

By the new millennium he was approaching retirement. Here he blows a kiss at his Fall Winter 2000-2001 Haute Couture show.

Yves Saint Laurent at his last Haute-Couture show, in 2002; Catherine Deneuve stands to his left

The year 2002 saw his final show. Deneuve was on hand again to see off the man who said "To be beautiful, all a woman needs is a black pullover and a black skirt and to be arm in arm with a man she loves."

 Former top model Carla Bruni presents a creation for Yves Saint Laurent on 22 January 2002 at the Centre Georges Pompidou art gallery in Paris.

Former top model Carla Bruni is seen here with an Yves Saint Laurent dress during his final show.

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