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Byline: Thelma Sioson San Juan
YVES Saint Laurent is retiring. This news, which we first mentioned in last week's column, may be so irrelevant to your struggle for daily survival, no matter that he's considered the world's greatest living designer. But allow us nonetheless to write up the man lengthily, if only for two things:
First, the shapes and styles of the clothes-most of them anyway-you've been wearing for the past four decades, you owe to the man who revolutionized silhouettes and updated the mood of clothes in a way that even the great Christian Dior and Chanel did not (perhaps for the obvious reason that the latter two died much earlier and reigned much shorter). Saint Laurent, known simply as YSL to the Western man on the street (and the smokers), paved the way for Armani and the late 20th-century breed of haute couture (made-to-order) and ready-to-wear designers.
Second, reading up on his life and career was among the things that made fashion coverage, for me, a learning exercise. As I read the life stories of Saint Laurent, Chanel (the drama of her many lovers, particularly) and Dior, and the odysseys of their creations, I got convinced that fashion, which I dismissed in my activist-college years as superficial and only for bimbos (thus "counter-revolutionary"), was a field not only worth reporting on, but actually could be exciting and stimulating. I owe this to my friend, Auggie Cordero, who introduced me to these books, if only because he needed somebody to discuss them with.
It is uncanny that Saint Laurent announced his retirement …