Legendary French fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent died yesterday at the age of 71 following a long illness.

The Algerian-born designer, who is regarded by many as the last great 20th century French designer and creator of modern fashion for women, took over the reins of the Dior fashion house in 1957 at just 21 years old and only retired from haute couture in 2002.

Responsible for the Rive Gauche label and the YSL brand, his name was synonymous with French fashion.

Yves Saint Laurent was responsible for styles for women that changed the way they dressed in the post-war era. His nipped-in trouser suits, “le smoking” tuxedo and safari jackets were shocking at the time of their debut on the catwalk and remain classics decades afterwards. His influence is still felt on the high street today.

PPR, parent company of the Yves Saint Laurent business, released this tribute to Saint Laurent: "A singular couturier who carried a revolutionary vision of fashion to the highest level, Yves Saint Laurent at once maintained traditions of excellence and invented new codes of French elegance.

“More than a great designer, in reality an immense artist has left us. Elevating fashion to a new form of art, Yves Saint Laurent expressed the evolution and the revolutions of society through his creations.

“Yves Saint Laurent leaves us with a heritage for which we are forever indebted to him. The PPR group and all who work at Yves Saint Laurent are imprinted with the spirit of his creation and invention. And each individual therein will endeavour to stay faithful to the style and grandeur of his legacy.”