Yves Saint Laurent's ashes scattered in Marrakesh

Wed Jun 11, 2008 12:34pm EDT
 
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By Tom Pfeiffer and Hassan Alaoui

MARRAKESH, Morocco (Reuters) - Friends of Yves Saint Laurent scattered his ashes on Wednesday in the botanical garden in Marrakesh where the reclusive fashion designer found inspiration and refuge from fame.

More than 100 guests including French former culture minister Jack Lang and fashion designer Paloma Picasso joined the private ceremony at the garden where bulbul birds sang in the trees and sunlight bounced off pools of cool water.

Saint Laurent and long-time companion Pierre Berge bought the Majorelle Garden in 1980 and gave a new lease of life to its cobalt blue walls and lily pools standing among cacti, bamboo, palms and agave.

Today its quiet pathways and small museum of Islamic art are popular with tourists dazed from visiting the city's narrow, dusty streets crowded with donkey carts and beeping mopeds.

"I am very happy that he chose Marrakesh, this magical place, to rest for eternity," Lang said.

Saint Laurent was credited with changing forever what women wore and was the first designer to make luxury labels accessible to a wider audience through innovative read-to-wear collections.

But he also struggled with the pressure of fame and suffered from alcohol and drug addiction. Friends say he found peace and seclusion in the gardens, often retreating there after stressful fashion shows.

The designer was born and raised in the then French colony of Algeria and found something familiar in Marrakesh when he and Berge arrived there in the late 1960s.   Continued...

 
<p>Dignitaries including France's President Nicolas Sarkozy (C) and his wife Carla attend funeral service for late fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent in Paris, June 5, 2008. Friends of Yves Saint Laurent scattered his ashes on Wednesday in the botanical garden in Marrakesh where the reclusive fashion designer found inspiration and refuge from fame. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier</p>