Over 1,000 people gathered in Paris today to bid adieu to Yves Saint Laurent at his funeral at the Eglise Saint-Roche. Front-row guests included French President Nicolas Sarkozy, First Lady Carla Bruni, Saint Laurent’s mother, Paris mayor Bertrand Delanoe, and Madame Chirac. Also seated in the front row was Saint Laurent’s longtime business partner and lover, Pierre Bergé, who gave a tearful speech:
“I remember the first time we met and those that followed. The day we decided to be together.
“…I remember your first collection under your name and the tears at the end. Then the years passed. Oh, how they passed quickly. The divorce was inevitable but the love never stopped.”
“…Chanel and you were the great couturiers of the twentieth century. She of the first half, you the second.
The 90-minute Mass was broadcast on giant screens outside the church, where throngs filled the streets around the Louvre. When Saint Laurent’s casket was carried in, thunderous applause erupted but the crowd was silent during the service.
Other notable designers in attendance included Christian Lacroix, Jean Paul Gaultier, John Galliano, Valentino, Hubert de Givenchy, Sonia Rykiel, Kenzo Takada, and Alber Elbaz. Many women in attendance wore trouser suits in homage to Saint Laurent’s revolutionary design.
Saint Laurent will be cremated before close friends and family, and his ashes sent to a garden in Marrakesh at a house he bought with Bergé.