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Saint Laurent laid to rest in 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 and placed before the altar.

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 French President 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,” the Rev. Roland Letteron said in the funeral service. Saint Laurent used the art of fashion “to expose the grandeur of life.”

Designers Vivienne Westwood, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Sonia Rykiel and John Galliano were among the luminaries in the crowd, as well as Farah Diba Pahlavi, exiled widow of the late Shah of Iran.