France's Culture Minister, Christine Albanel, said the designer personally touched women's lives.
"This brilliant idea that a woman could be the most feminine possible while dressing like a man... it seems to me decisive," she said of the designer, who was the first to put women in elegant tuxedos for evening.
"Little by little, women get rid of their corset and then they live differently," Ms Albanel added.
From that first YSL tuxedo to slim trouser-suits to see-through blouses, safari jackets and glamorous gowns, Saint Laurent created instant classics that remain stylish decades later.
"Mr Saint Laurent revolutionized modern fashion with his understanding of youth, sophistication and relevance. His legacy will always be remembered," said Calvin Klein designer Francisco Costa.
Saint Laurent began to change the face of the fashion industry when he became chief designer of the House of Dior at just 21.
He designed clothes that reflected women's changing role in society: more confident personally, sexually and in the work-place.
He retired from haute couture in 2002 and had been ill for some time.
Pierre Berge, Saint Laurent's close friend and business partner for four decades, praised his old friend.
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