Yves Saint Laurent: the final show archive

New book offers insight into designer's private universe

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In a career of many firsts, Yves Henri Donat Mathieu-Saint-Laurent - better known as Yves Saint Laurent - dragged couture fashion from its Sixties decline, became the first fashion designer to use ethnic models on the catwalk and, perhaps most famously, made ready-to-wear reputable. When he died in 2008, he left an art collection worth 342.5 million euros. The following year he was reputedly the world's richest dead celebrity.

The Life photographer Pierre Boulat photographed Laurent's debut collection in 1962 shortly before he went on to work for Christian Dior. Forty years later Boulat’s daughter, Alexandra, documented the preparation and build up to the designer's last ever collection, which he showed at the Pompidou Centre in Paris on January 22, 2002.

At the Pompidou, Laurent presented a selection of his best-ever work. Claudia Schiffer modelled one of Laurent’s classic sixties safari suits originally worn by model Veruschka, while Jerry Hall channelled Marlene Dietrich in a white satin gown and ostrich feather coat.

Boulat was allowed into Saint Laurent's Paris studio while he worked on both the final touches to the collection and his plans for showcasing the haute couture highlights of his 40-year career. Boulat captured moments of intimacy, creation and solitude amidst the chaos of Saint Laurent's final preparations for the show.

Her photographs appear in a new book Questions Without Answers published by Phaidon next month alongside fellow VII Photo Agency photographers Marcus Bleasdale, Ron Haviv, Ed Kashi, Gary Knight, Antonin Kratochvil, Joachum Ladefoged, Christopher Morris, Franco Pagetti, Stephanie Sinclair and John Stanmeyer.

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