PARIS – Model-turned-first lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, actress Catherine Deneuve and the Shah of Iran's widow were among mourners Thursday at the funeral of legendary designer Yves Saint Laurent.
Applause rose among the arriving guests as Saint Laurent's casket was carried into the flower bedecked Saint-Roch church near the Louvre Museum and Tuileries Gardens and placed before the altar, draped in a decorated yellow cloth.
Saint Laurent was among the most influential designers during the most important era of Parisian fashion, changing the way generations of women dressed, most enduringly by making it glamorous and feminine to wear pants.
Stars, couturiers and dignitaries including President French Nicolas Sarkozy, accompanied by his wife — who once modeled for Saint Laurent — filled the church in a final homage to the designer four days after he died of cancer at 71.
"He changed couture through his art," said the Rev. Roland Letteron, speaking during the funeral service. Saint Laurent used the art of fashion "to expose the grandeur of life."
"It is more than brocade he prints on silk. It is light," Letteron said.
Designers Vivienne Westwood, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Sonia Rykiel and John Galliano were among luminaries seen in the crowd as well as Farah Diba Pahlavi, exiled widow of the late Shah of Iran.
Saint Laurent's remains will be cremated and his ashes kept in the Majorelle botanical garden near a home in Marrakech, Morocco, that he and Pierre Berge, his friend of some 40 years and business partner, owned.