Thursday 8 December 2016

Fashion designer 'a depressed, drunk diva'

Henry Samuel in Paris

Published 20/01/2010 | 05:00

Yves Saint Laurent didn't love women, he used them and was a depressed, drunken tyrant incapable of generosity, according to an iconoclastic biography of the late fashion designer.

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'Saint Laurent: Bad Boy', published today, paints a dark picture of the enigmatic French designer's descent into drugs and alcohol, accompanied by memorable fits of rage in which he would throw ashtrays at his closest friends. Saint Laurent died in June 2008 aged 71.

Marie-Dominique Lelievre, who interviewed dozens of the designer's colleagues and friends, claimed in the book that he was "frightfully unhappy" from the mid-1970s on and would take out his angst on his entourage.

"Several times, witnesses saw him lose his head and throw objects at people," she wrote. "His physical power was as great as his inner strength. Yves was an athlete as far as ashtray throwing is concerned."

"Yves Saint Laurent didn't have friends. He loved nobody," said Betty Catroux, one of his muses. The model Victoire, the only woman the designer considered marrying, said: "They say he loved women. No, he didn't love them. He used them."

Success

By 1976, Saint Laurent had succumbed to the "Judy Garland syndrome", according to a friend. Like the doomed singer and actress, he dealt with his success by consuming amphetamines and tranquillisers.

He would go out on the prowl in nightclubs looking for "savage and hazardous" sexual adventures, and more than once ended up in hospital, where Pierre Berge, the designer's business partner and long-time companion, would reportedly come to collect him.

Mr Berge was described in the book as his partner's "remedy", as he saved his career but turned him into an "assisted diva". He kept their fashion empire intact by only wheeling out the diminished designer on rare occasions.

Mr Berge refused to speak to the author, dismissing the work as "gossip". (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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