By  on September 12, 1994

NEW YORK -- Yves has arrived.

For the first time in a decade, Yves Saint Laurent has come to America, for the rollout of his fragrance, Champagne. Plans include a huge party for 2,000 tonight at another French export -- the Statue of Liberty -- as well as a store appearance or two.

Just before he left Paris, Saint Laurent sat down for an interview with WWD. He was clearly feeling his oats, greeting a visitor with a firm handshake and a ready smile.

His triumphant July couture collection, the success of Champagne and, perhaps above all, the sense that fashion is turning his way again have all invigorated Saint Laurent, who has had his share of emotional turmoil.

"I feel like a young couturier again, about to do his first show. It's a great feeling."

"I'm happy that people are inspired by what I have done. It proves that la mode passes, but true style resists. And let's be honest, not many couturiers have their own style," Saint Laurent says.

On the schedule, in addition to tonight's party, are a visit this morning to the Rive Gauche boutique on Madison Avenue and a Tuesday store appearance for the perfume at Saks, which is giving over its Fifth Avenue windows to a retrospective of Saint Laurent's fashion.

He will also attend a Wednesday morning memorial service in the New York Public Library for Richard Salomon, the former chief executive officer of Charles of the Ritz, which owned the YSL perfume business until 1986 and at one stage owned 80 percent of the YSL fashion business. Salomon died in July.

Saint Laurent arrived in New York on Friday's Concorde. Over the weekend, Saint Laurent, Pierre Bergé and the rest of the YSL group relaxed and went to various restaurants like Mortimer's and Le Madri, where they had dinner Saturday night. At the next table were Brooke Shields and Andre Agassi, and Saint Laurent couldn't get over the fact that Agassi traveled with his own big burly bodyguard.

Tonight's big event includes a massive fireworks display, but the designer is certainly no stranger to mega-fêtes. His 1977 party for Opium in New York Harbor was staged on a junk festooned with 2,000 Hawaiian orchids, Chinese temples and a giant Buddha and cost $300,000, a staggering figure at the time. Indeed, one of Andy Warhol's most plaintive cries in his "Diaries" was having to miss the "big, glamorous YSL Opium party" due to an engagement in California.

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