Friday, October 13, 2006

Fernando Sanchez: A Celebration of a Life

In the beginning there were three: Yves Saint Laurent from Algiers, Karl Lagerfeld from Hamburg and Fernando Sanchez from Brussels. They were students in Paris at the Ecole de la Chambre Syndicale de la couture Parisienne. What a class. The year was 1953. What a class.

By the time he was 21, Saint Laurent was designing the collection of Christian Dior. Lagerfeld was working for Pierre Balmain. The Sanchez career was more diverse. First he designed corsets and foundations for the Warner Brothers Corset Company. Then came furs. And finally, negligees for his own company.

But his specialty was people. He would have a tea party on Sunday afternoons in an apartment he kept in Paris where his guests included Yves and his partner, Pierre Berge', Talitha Getty, Loulou de la Falaise, Paloma Picasso and Jack Nicholson. "he always had an adventurous approach to his social life," said his cousin, Jano Herbosch.

So on Thursday, his cousin gave a party for him in his apartment at the Osborne. She didn't call it a memorial service. She said it was "a celebration of life." She had invited 300 people, but suspects far more arrived.

They included Geoffrey Holder, the dancer and choreographer, Grace Mirabella, the former Vogue editor, Elsa Klensch, Stephen Burrows, the designer, Etta Froio of WWD, models like Pat Cleveland, Alva and Carmen. The models all said Sanchez was extremely friendly, talked to them about their lives and made sure they looked their best.

As they left each guest received a booklet with pictures from Sanchez's life, including baby pictures, and some of his favorite sayings:

"Don't give up, don't give in, go ahead on the road to celebrate life." and "The golden rule is to test everything in the light of reason and experience--no matter from where it comes,"

He seems to have enjoyed life.

-Bernadine Morris

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