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July 23, 2014

News round-up: Dilmah hosts high teas in New Zealand; Trish Peng searches for new face

Lucire staff/22.50

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Dilmah Tea New Zealand

Dilmah Tea hosted a series of high teas around New Zealand, promoting its socially responsible message along with the rising interest in tea mixology.
   Its Wellington stop on Tuesday, hosted by Dilmah founder Merrill J. Fernando and his son, Dilhan C. Fernando, the company’s chief marketing officer, and in the presence of Her Excellency Zodwa Lallie, South African High Commissioner, was a particular treat, with a menu designed by Dilmah Real High Tea Gold Medallist Laurent Loudeac, executive chef of the Museum Art Hotel.
   Held at the hotel’s famed Hippopotamus restaurant, guests were treated to everything from ora king salmon sashimi—which we would label as our favourite of the afternoon—to lap sang souchong yoghurt panna cotta and a lychee-infused jasmine tea and rosewater caviar, complemented by various Dilmah teas.
   The selection included Dilmah’s Ran Watte Single Region Ceylon tea, its green tea with jasmine flowers, and its rose tea with French vanilla.
   The highlight was the address given my Merrill J. Fernando, after a video looking back through the history of Dilmah and how his famed catchphrase, ‘Do try it,’ was created by a New Zealand agency.
   He spoke of how Dilmah goes beyond the requirements of Fair Trade with its ethically made tea, because those who grow the tea share in the equity. The value-added components of Dilmah are not done by international traders, but by Sri Lankans, and the company constantly puts money back into the community, funding education, health care, cultural and even business activities.
   Some rivals force down the prices that tea farmers can sell at, keeping them poor, while profiting from the value-added components in the marketing and production chain.
   Mr Fernando also stressed that Ceylon tea is the finest, and that Dilmah, to preserve that integrity, does not mix its teas with those from other countries.
   Through a Trade Me auction, the Merrill J. Fernando Charitable Foundation is also raising money for a culinary centre in Sri Lanka which will train people living with disabilities or have been disadvantaged, so that they can find employment to support themselves.
   They can be found on Trade Me, with the auctions closing on July 27. Items include Parawa Estate Ingalalla Grand Reserve 2007 wine, valued at over NZ$1,250; an individually numbered caddy of a very rare tea, FBOP 1, from the Dilmah Opapa Estate in Sri Lanka; a night for two at the Langham Hotel in Auckland; and two nights for two at the Museum Art Hotel in Wellington.
   In other New Zealand news, new label Trish Peng is running a Fresh Face modelling competition as part of her New Zealand Fashion Week début next month, with the help of L’Oréal Professionnel and Vanity Walk.
   New Zealand women are invited to enter via the Trish Peng Facebook page. Peng and Vanity Walk, a modelling agency, will judge from the uploaded photo and details.
   Entries close August 2. The winner becomes the face of the next Trish Peng campaign, opens Peng’s fashion week show, receives a modelling contract with Vanity Walk, and wins a year’s supply of L’Oréal Professionnel products.—Jack Yan, Publisher, with Lucire staff


Felicity Anderson/Trio Communications



Dilmah

Top Dilmah founder Merrill J. Fernando with Lucire publisher Jack Yan. Centre Dilmah chief marketing officer Dilhan C. Fernando and South African High Commissioner, HE Zodwa Lallie. Above Museum Art Hotel proprietor Chris Parkin with HE Zodwa Lallie.

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June 7, 2014

Destination datelines: Catalina, Paris, Gurgaon, Punta Ala

Lucire staff/13.57

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©1964 Bettmann/Corbis


©1966 Hulton–Deutsch/Corbis

Top The Beatles in A Hard Day’s Night, 1964. Above George Harrison marries Pattie Boyd in 1966.

Catalina Island, California
Hard to believe it’s been a half-century since the première of A Hard Day’s Night. To commemorate the date, the Catalina Island Museum will mount a special 50th anniversary screening of the legendary movie starring the Beatles on Sunday, July 6 in Avalon’s Casino Theatre at 7 p.m. Lucire loves the vintage déco interior. On hand to take questions will be author Pattie Boyd (right), who you can surely interrogate about her life and times as wife of George Harrison, Eric Clapton, and her best-selling memoir, Wonderful Tonight. Pattie exudes energy and personality, and loves to laugh. Watch for her in a famous scene which takes place on a train: she’s the blonde girl in a school uniform, who flirts with George.


Paris, France
A new website has launched this week which could simplify the task of finding lodging in this capital city: www.myboutiquehotel.paris/fr/. It looks like a pretty cleverly designed and attractive site, listing over 250 boutique hotels. You can select by price, star rating, location, nearby landmarks, areas of interest, but the kicker is the promise of a real live human being person available on the phone to assist you. We’d be interested to learn of anyone’s experiences with this site. Good luck with your launch!

Gurgaon, Haryana, India
While the city, population 20 million, stews under a layer of world-class pollution (mostly the by-product of wood fires), the problem of traffic compounds the subject. Gurgaon excels in congestion, and this week some like-minded technology companies are rolling out Folksvagn, a cheekily-named ride-sharing solution in the Palam Vihar and Sector 22–3 area. It’s also a vote of support for Gurgaon start-ups like our friends at Nagarro, one of a group deploying modern mindsets in the interest of transforming urban mobility with programmes like this. If you’re looking for a sustainable and socially responsible ride to work in Gurgaon, this may be your answer.

Punta Ala, Italy
This week, Baglioni reopens La Vela, a classic architectural monument originally known as a swinging disco in 1965. You can see its signature roofline on the very exclusive beach here. A glorious renovation transforms the space into a 160-seat restaurant and spa. Ideally situated among a cypress grove, with astounding views of the nearby islands Elba, Capraia and Pianosa, the airy infinity terrace promises to be an ideal location for sunset beverages and prime people-watching. GM Luigi Magnani promises ‘a soft club’ experience for evenings.—Stanley Moss, Travel Editor


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May 29, 2014

A tribute to Massimo Vignelli, a design legend

Jack Yan/10.14

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RIT

Massimo Vignelli, who passed away on May 27, was a hero of mine. When receiving the news shortly before it hit the media in a big way, from our mutual friend Stanley Moss, this title’s travel editor and CEO of the Medinge Group, I posted immediately on Facebook: ‘It is a sad duty to note the passing of Massimo Vignelli, one of my heroes in graphic design. When I was starting out in the business, Massimo was one of the greats: a proponent of modernism and simple, sharp typography. His influence is apparent in a lot of the work done by our brand consultancy and in our magazines, even in my 2013 mayoral campaign graphics. A lot of his work from half a century ago has stood the test of time. There was only one degree of separation between us, and I regret that we never connected during his lifetime. The passing of a legend.’
   This Facebook status only scratches the surface of my admiration for Vignelli. There have been more comprehensive obits already (Fast Company Design rightly called him ‘one of the greatest 20th century designers’), detailing his work notably for the New York subway map, and—curiously to me—glossing over the effect he had on corporate design, especially in the US.
   Vignelli, and his wife Lella, a designer in her own right and a qualified architect, set up the Vignelli Office of Design and Architecture in Milano in 1960, which had clients including Pirelli and Olivetti. In 1965, they moved to New York and Vignelli co-founded Unimark International (with Ralph Eckerstrom, James Fogelman, Wally Gutches, Larry Klein, and Bob Noorda), where he was design director. It was the world’s largest design and marketing firm till its closure in 1977.
   The 1960s were a great time for Vignelli and his corporate identities. He worked on American Airlines, Ford, Knoll, and J. C. Penney, and the work was strictly modernist, often employing Helvetica as the typeface family. Vignelli was known to have stuck with six families for most his work—Bodoni was another, a type family based around geometry that, on the surface, tied in to his modernist, logical approach. However, there were underlying reasons, including his belief that Helvetica had an ideal ratio between upper- and lowercase letters, with short ascenders and descenders, lending itself to what he considered classic proportions. The 1989 WTC Our Bodoni, created under Vignelli’s direction by Tom Carnase and commissioned by Bert di Pamphilis, adheres to the same proportions.
   Although my own typeface design background means that I could not adhere to six, there is something to be said for employing a logical approach to design. American corporate design went through a “cleaning up” in the 1960s, with a brighter, bolder sensibility. Detractors might accuse it of being stark, the Helveticization of American design making things too standard. Yet through the 1970s the influence remained, and to my young eyes that decade, this was how professional design should look, contrary to the low-budget work plaguing newspapers and books that I saw as I arrived in the occident.
   When the Vignellis left Unimark to set up Vignelli Associates in 1971 (and later Vignelli Designs in 1978), their stamp remained. The MTA launched Vignelli’s subway map the following year, and like the London Underground map by Harry Beck in 1931, it ignored what was above ground in favour of a logical diagram with the stops. Beck was a technical draftsman and the approach must have found favour with Vignelli, just as it did with those creating maps for the Paris Métropolitain and the Berlin U-bahn.
   New Yorkers didn’t take to the Vignelli map as well as Londoners and Parisians, and it was replaced in 1979 with one that was more geographically accurate to what was above ground.
   In 1973, Vignelli worked on the identity for Bloomingdale’s, and his work endures: the Big Brown Bag is his work, and it continues to be used by the chain today. Cinzano, Lancia and others continue with Vignelli’s designs.
   Ironically, despite a rejection of fashion in favour of timelessness, some of the work is identified with the 1960s and 1970s, notably thanks to the original cut of Helvetica, which has only recently been revived (a more modern cut is commonplace), and which is slightly less popular today. Others, benefiting from more modern layout programs and photography, look current to 2010s eyes, such as Vignelli Associates’ work for the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
   The approach taken by Lucire in its print editions has a sense of modernism that has a direct Vignelli influence, including the use of related typeface families since we went to retail print editions in 2004. Our logotype itself, dating from 1997, has the sort of simplicity that I believe Vignelli would have approved of.
   Vignelli was, fortunately, fêted during his lifetime. He received the Compasso d’Oro from ADI twice (1964 and 1998), the AIGA Gold Medal (1983), the Presidential Design Award (1985), the Honorary Royal Designer for Industry Award from the Royal Society of Arts (1996), the National Lifetime Achievement Award from the Cooper–Hewitt National Museum of Design (2003), among many. He holds honorary doctorates from seven institutions, including the Rochester Institute of Technology (2002). Rochester has a Vignelli Center for Design Studies, whose website adheres to his design principles and where educational programmes espouse his modernist approach. It also houses the Vignellis’ professional archive.
   He is survived by his wife, Lella, who continues to work as CEO of Vignelli Associates and president of Vignelli Designs; their son, Luca, their daughter, Valentina Vignelli Zimmer, and three grandchildren.—Jack Yan, Publisher

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May 18, 2014

Cannes day four: Freida Pinto, Jennifer Lawrence, Eva Longoria, Isabeli Fontana, Natasha Poly

Lucire staff/12.47

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Gisela Schober


Tim P. Whitby


Venturelli

Fashionistas closely followed one of Saturday’s films at the Festival de Cannes: the second bio-pic on the late French fashion design legend Yves Saint Laurent.
   The first, simply titled YSL and directed by Jalil Lespert, was released in January to largely positive reviews, particularly from the former partner of Saint Laurent, Pierre Bergé. Critics said it glossed over Saint Laurent’s own genius.
   The second, directed by Bertrand Bonello and entitled Saint Laurent, had mixed reviews. The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw called it superior to YSL, but ‘it is no less forgiving, no less respectful, no less convinced of Saint Laurent’s importance as a popular artist, and really no better at persuading the non-fashionista laity, which I confess includes me.’ Guy Lodge in Variety, who also preferred the Bonello effort, noted, it was ‘considerably more spectacular, but also less practical, with its baroque ornamentation and slip-sliding chronology.’
   It received support from François-Henri Pinault, the owner of the Yves Saint Laurent brand, but not from Bergé. Both films claimed “official” status.
   Relatos Salvajes, another film that premièred on Saturday, is a tale of numerous revenge fantasies, produced by Pedro Almodóvar and directed by Damian Szifron, received more even acclaim from critics at the Cannes Film Festival.
   The winner of the Palme d’Or at Cannes for best picture is announced on May 24.
   Caught on the red carpet at Saint Laurent and around Cannes were Freida Pinto, Eva Longoria, Isabeli Fontana, Natasha Poly, Léa Seydoux, Aymeline Valade, Grazi Massaferi, Taís Araújo and Leïla Bekhti. Julianne Moore appeared as part of the cast of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 alongside Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth and Donald Sutherland; while on the red carpet for The Prophet were Salma Hayek, Jean Paul Gaultier, Tonie Marshall, Francois-Henri Pinault, and Mika. Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy were at the première of The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them, while Mads Mikkelsen and Eva Green—seen together in 2006’s James Bond reboot Casino Royale—were at The Salvation’s red carpet.
   Also among our videos: Tommy Lee Jones and Hilary Swank give a press conference for The Homesman, Salma Hayek gives an interview for The Prophet, discussing Chime for Change, women’s rights and the recent kidnapping of young girls in Nigeria, and Cate Blanchett presents Chopard trophies to Adele Exarchopoulos and Logan Lerman.

Saint Laurent red carpet

Saint Laurent press conference

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

The Prophet

The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them

The Salvation

The Homesman press conference

Salma Hayek

Cate Blanchett presenting Chopard trophies

Red carpet round-up of the day





Andreas Rentz/Getty Images


Tim P. Whitby


Tim P. Whitby



Andreas Rentz/Getty Images




Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Film Français

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May 15, 2014

Nicole Kidman defends Grace of Monaco on day one of Cannes Film Festival 2014

Lucire staff/1.08

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It was never going to be easy to play someone so beloved, and Nicole Kidman has had to face the critics with her performance of HSH Princess Grace as Grace of Monaco opened the Festival de Cannes.
   The film is set in the 1960s, just after Grace Kelly wed HSH Prince Rainier II, when she flirted with returning to Hollywood.
   Grace of Monaco had upset the Grimaldi family earlier. The Royal Family had issued a statement calling the trailer a ‘farce’ and that the film had a ‘totally fictional nature’.
   Kidman says that despite this, she would not have changed her performance if she were to do it again, and defended it at a press conference on Wednesday afternoon.
   She admits it is a fictionalization with dramatic licence, but notes that ‘the film has no malice toward the family, particularly toward Grace or [Prince] Rainier.
   ‘I still have respect, and I want [her children] to know the performance was done with love.’
   The Monaco royals did not attend the opening.
   Other than Kidman, whom we spotted yesterday doing her interviews for Grace of Monaco, Nadja Auermann and Yassine Azzouz have been snapped on the red carpet later in the day. Auermann, appropriately, wore items from Montblanc’s Princesse Grace de Monaco collection, namely its Petales de rose necklace, bracelet and bouquet studs.
   Lucire TV has a brief interview clip with Kidman at her Cannes press conference, as well one showing the Cannes jury, which is presided this year by New Zealand director Jane Campion.
   Actresses Carole Bouquet, Leila Hatami and Jeon Do-yeon, actors Willem Dafoe and Gael García Bernal, and directors Sofia Coppola, Jia Zhangke and Nicolas Winding Refn make up the rest of the jury.
   The Grace of Monaco after-party video is also featured.
   Paris editor Lola Saab is in Cannes presently and will file her diary after the event.

Red-carpet opening

Jury on the red carpet

Nicole Kidman at Grace of Monaco press conference

Jury press conference

Grace of Monaco after-party with Nicole Kidman and Tim Roth



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February 3, 2014

Horsing around with Sue Wong for New Year in LA

Elyse Glickman/4.31

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Elyse Glickman

Sue Wong not only has it all, but can certainly share her good fortune with great gusto. She usually opens the Cedars, her 1920s-era Hollywood mansion, to serve as a backdrop for informal fashion shows. However, on this auspicious New Year’s Eve, her home (which itself had many lives, from the home of early film director Marcel Tourneur and wife Norma Talmadge, to a set for the movie Sunset Boulevard, to rock-and-roll haven for Jimi Hendrix, Dennis Hopper and other ’60s figures) was a stage for her to channel Coco Chanel and Auntie Mame (the 1958 version with Rosalind Russell), put out a fine banquet (because life is, after all, a banquet), serve cocktails and put on a show featuring traditional Chinese performances, pop music, opera and folk music.
   Sue Wong was the consummate master of ceremonies, and her guests were a colourful assortment of artists, actors, writers, socialites and musicians. It was a collection of people Mame Dennis herself would be proud of.
   While LA Fashion Week is a few weeks off, and we’re sure fashion and lifestyle empress Sue Wong has another great collection ahead of her for fall–winter 2014–15, a few hours in her stunning, jewel-toned home is one of the best representations of Old and New Hollywood coming together visually.
   Celebrities on hand included Jane Seymour, Miss Hong Kong 2014 Erin Tjoe, Carly Craig, K. D. Aubert, Kimberly Kates, legendary LA publicist Ed Lozzi, Joyce Giraud and Michael Ohoven.—Elyse Glickman, US West Coast Editor




Elyse Glickman

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January 20, 2014

A tie for Gravity and 12 Years a Slave at the Producers’ Guild Awards; Kiwis and James Bond get special awards

Lucire staff/8.38

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It was a tie between Gravity and 12 Years a Slave at the 25th annual Producers’ Guild Awards, which now puts Alfonso Cuarón’s space-set drama, starring Sandra Bullock, among the front-runners for the Academy Awards.
   The films both won the Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures—Gravity for Alfonso Cuarón and David Heyman; and 12 Years a Slave for Anthony Katagas, Jeremy Kleiner, Steve McQueen, Brad Pitt, and Dede Gardner.
   In the television category, Breaking Bad won the Norman Felton Award for Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television, Drama (producers Melissa Bernstein, Sam Catlin, Bryan Cranston, Vince Gilligan, Peter Gould, Mark Johnson, Stewart Lyons, Michelle MacLaren, George Mastras, Diane Mercer, Thomas Schnauz, and Moira Walley-Beckett), while, for the fourth year running, Modern Family won the Danny Thomas Award for Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television, Comedy (producers Paul Corrigan, Abraham Higginbotham, Ben Karlin, Elaine Ko, Steven Levitan, Christopher Lloyd, Jeffrey Morton, Dan O’Shannon, Jeffrey Richman, Chris Smirnoff, Brad Walsh, Bill Wrubel, and Danny Zuker).
   We Steal Secrets: the Story of Wikileaks (Alexis Bloom, Alex Gibney, Marc Shmuger) was the best documentary film, while Behind the Candelabra (Susan Ekins, Gregory Jacobs, Michael Polaire, Jerry Weintraub) won the David L. Wolper Award for Outstanding Producer of Long-Form Television.
   Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown (Anthony Bourdain, Christopher Collins, Lydia Tenaglia, Sandra Zweig) won the non-fiction TV prize.
   Frozen (Peter Del Vecho) was the top animated feature; The Voice (Stijn Bakkers, Mark Burnett, John de Mol, Chad Hines, Lee Metzger, Audrey Morrissey, Jim Roush, Kyra Thompson, Nicolle Yaron, Mike Yurchuk, Amanda Zucker) won for competition television; and The Colbert Report (Stijn Bakkers, Mark Burnett, John de Mol, Chad Hines, Lee Metzger, Audrey Morrissey, Jim Roush, Kyra Thompson, Nicolle Yaron, Mike Yurchuk, Amanda Zucker) won for live entertainment and talk television.
   SportsCenter and Sesame Street won for their categories in sports and children’s programmes. Wired: What’s Inside was the winner for digital series.
   This year’s event also saw the first David O. Selznick Achievement Award in Theatrical Motion Pictures, which was awarded to Eon Productions’ Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli. The stepson and daughter of Albert R. ‘Cubby’ Broccoli have guided the James Bond franchise into its 50th anniversary celebration. Current lead actor Daniel Craig and former United Artists boss David Picker gave the award.
   Chuck Lorre (The Big Bang Theory) won the Norman Lear Achievement Award in Television; Robert Iger won the Milestone Award; Weta’s Sir Peter Jackson and Joe Letteri, ONZM, gave the Kiwis representation when they won the Vanguard Award; and Chris Melendandri won the Visionary Award. As announced earlier, Fruitvale Station, which had been passed over for nomination at the SAG Awards and the Oscars, won the Stanley Kramer Award for raising awareness of social issues. The film looks at the real-life January 1, 2009 killing of Oscar Grant at the BART station in Fruitvale. Grant was shot by transit officer Johannes Mehserle in the incident. The killing sparked riots and protests in the Bay Area in 2009 and, after the criminal trial of Mehserle, in 2010.

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January 8, 2014

YSL, first of two bio-pics on Yves Saint Laurent, opens today amid controversy

Lucire staff/7.48

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Thibault Grabherr and Anouchka de Williencourt/SND

Top Pierre Niney as Yves Saint Laurent and Guillaume Gallienne as Pierre Bergé in YSL. Above Pierre Niney as Yves Saint Laurent and Charlotte Le Bon as Victoire Doutreleau.

The first of two bio-pics on fashion design legend Yves Saint Laurent opens today in France.
   YSL, directed by Jalil Lespert, stars Pierre Niney, whose make-up is so convincing that Saint Laurent’s last surviving dog reportedly mistook him for his master. Saint Laurent’s former partner and business manager, Pierre Bergé, has also called Niney’s performance convincing.
   Women’s Wear Daily noted that Niney studied footage of Saint Laurent and took sewing and drawing classes to prepare for his role.
   Bergé has endorsed Lespert’s film, which covers the period between 1957 and 1976, and provided the producers with access to the Pierre Bergé–Yves Saint Laurent foundation archive.
   Even from the trailer, there is a sense of visual verisimilitude, and the film has already received acclaim from Paris Match and Elle.
   Bergé has said, ‘The film does not take sides, but tells the truth. All men have a dark and a light side. My life with Yves Saint Laurent was not a fairy tale, but I would not change anything.’
   However, critics of Lespert’s film claim that it glosses over Saint Laurent’s genius. Thomas Bidegain, scriptwriter for the rival bio-pic, told The Daily Telegraph that YSL was ‘simply recounted by Bergé, like Mozart recounted by Salieri.’
   One can see the origins of Bidegain’s claim. In a positive review in L’Express, Mathilde Laurelli notes that YSL recounts a ‘pygmalion du couturier,’ and that it could be more objective.
   However, she and other reviewers tended to praise the film for exploring Saint Laurent’s inner demons, and the clothes from the archive.
   The rival film, which also claims “official” status, has the blessing of François Pinault, the owner of the Yves Saint Laurent brand. Saint Laurent, to be released in May, is directed by Bertrand Bonello, and stars Gaspard Ulliel as the designer. Léa Seydoux plays Loulou de la Falaise and Jérémie Renier portrays Bergé.
   Yves Saint Laurent started at Dior in the mid-1950s and succeeded the designer on his death in 1957. He was drafted in 1960 to fight in the Algerian War of Independence. On his return, Bergé, an art dealer who had met Saint Laurent while he was in a military hospital, tried to have Saint Laurent reinstated at Dior, but the house refused. They successfully sued for breach of contract. They went on to start the Yves Saint Laurent label along with some of the Dior staff. Saint Laurent was appointed Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur in 1985. The following year, the company took control of its fragrance business and floated on the stock exchange. In December 2007, President Nicolas Sarkozy appointed Saint Laurent Officier of the Légion d’honneur. Saint Laurent died in 2008.


Thibault Grabherr and Anouchka de Williencourt/SND

Top Charlotte Le Bon plays Victoire, Dior’s muse, later at Saint Laurent. Above Yves Saint Laurent and Victoire Doutreleau in 1962.







Thibault Grabherr and Anouchka de Williencourt/SND

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