HOME FRONT: Sunshine and a warm breeze added a festive air to the unveiling of a plaque in Paris on Saturday to commemorate where Yves Saint Laurent had lived out much of his adult life.
A rueful Pierre Bergé welcomed guests, including Betty and François Catroux, Jacques Grange, Didier Grumbach and Thadée Klossowski de Rola, welling up as he leaned down to embrace Anne-Marie Muñoz in her wheelchair.
Muñoz, Bergé noted during his speech in front of a thicket of greenery and a spray of white lilies, had been at Saint Laurent’s side in the design studio from early in his career, when he was the couturier at Dior, to his death five years ago from brain cancer at age 71.
Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoë was in the midst of recounting the designer’s “revolutionary” fashion inventions — pantsuits, tuxedos, safari jackets — when opponents of France’s new law allowing gay marriage erupted in shouts from down the street, where police had erected barricades to street traffic.
“I’ll deal with you in a minute,” the openly gay politician said cheerfully, eliciting a round of chuckles.
The plaque at 55 Rue Babylone reads “Yves Saint Laurent, French couturier, lived in this building from 1970 until his death.”
Her stick-straight blonde hair fluttering in the wind, Betty Catroux tugged at the narrow lapels of her dark pantsuit, from Saint Laurent by Hedi Slimane. “All men’s,” she pointed out. “It’s all I wear now.”
Moujik IV, the last of the late designer’s beloved French bulldogs, mellow and graying at age nine, sniffed familiar pants legs, standing on his hind legs to greet Dior’s Olivier Bialobos.