“I’m very sad about Yves Saint Laurent, which is why I’m wearing a 30-year-old jacket,” Council of Fashion Designers president Diane Von Furstenberg, clad in a blue “Le Smoking”-esque number by the late designer, confided at the New York Public Library on Monday, June 2. “It’s from my attic.”
Mr. Saint Laurent, who died June 1 in Paris from a brain tumor, was much on people’s minds at this, the annual CFDA Awards, otherwise known as fashion’s Oscars. “He was wonderful, he was divine, he was mischievous,” Ms. Von Furstenberg said. “I loved him.”
“Who is YSL? Why do you call him that way?” her fellow doyenne, Carolina Herrera, standing nearby in a white pantsuit of her own design (“it’s in his memory”) chided the Transom. Asked, with profuse apologies, about Mr. Saint Laurent, she said she had known him “very well, yes.”
“I have a lot of things by him, in fact, my prom dress was by him!” said the eventual winner for accessories, Tory Burch. “It sounds really ugly, but it was really beautiful: purple sequins and had a black tulle bottom. Big, full.
“He was such a gentleman,” she continued. “Such a big inspiration for our company.”
“I don’t think there’s anyone alive today working as a designer who he hasn’t inspired,” said Marchesa designer Georgina Chapman, somewhat sadly, arriving with new hubby Harvey Weinstein in tow. (“He loves fashion. Isn’t that plain to see?”)
“I actually walked in Mr. YSL’s last show before he retired,” said the Czech supermodel Karolina Kurkova, posing for pictures nearby. “It was amazing, it was a great experience. He was very—when I met him, he was, I think, already sick, so he was very quiet, but very powerful, you could feel that. He was a very powerful person. He had big opinions.
“He’s part of, you know, the history of fashion,” she continued. “He will be missed, but will be always remembered for the rest of everybody’s lives.” Ms. Kurkova herself owns several pieces by the departed designer, notably “this beautiful blouse that I love, it’s red and it’s off-the-shoulder, very YSL. He always gave women that little touch of masculinity, that little edge.”
Victoria Beckham arrived, tan and compact in a short black Marc Jacobs dress involving what looked like faux feathers. (The designer himself smoked nearby with stylist Rachel Zoe, and was overheard greeting actress Eva Longoria: “We were just talking about you! I was just saying how nice you are!”) “It would be hard to say what is my favorite,” said Ms. Beckham of the YSL pieces in her wardrobe. “I’ve been to a few of his shows. Fantastic, really, really fantastic, great experience … You know, it’s hard to know what to say.”
Last to arrive was honoree Mayor Bloomberg, clad in purple bow tie and arm-in-arm with girlfriend Diana Taylor, who wore bright purple Ralph Lauren. Hizzoner, whose love of Paul Stuart had been chronicled at length in a New York Times article that morning, had no special memories of the departed French designer.“I love them all,” he said diplomatically.