Opium Party, 1978, Alya Chinn

Opium Party, 1978, Alya Chinn

“I love Yves Saint Laurent,” writes photographer Roxanne Lowit in her new book, entitled simply Yves Saint Laurent. “His name is synonymous with style, elegance, and high fashion. I love that I met him on top of the Eiffel Tower. I love that I always felt so welcomed backstage. I love that he always had such a passion for his work.” In the book, Lowit, who indeed met Saint Laurent with friends Andy Warhol and Antonio Lopez on top of the Parisian landmark —“It was, in retrospect, really major,” she said in an interview before the book’s launch party—shares vibrant, candid photos of the designer and his work from their meeting in 1978 through his last show in 2002. Lowit called on Saint Laurent’s long time business partner Pierre Bergé to pen the forward, and friends Jerry Hall, Valerie Steele, Pat Cleveland, Grace Jones, Betty Catroux, Paloma Picasso, Catherine Deneuve, and Lucie de la Falaise (niece of Loulou) to share their favorite memories alongside Lowit’s portraits of them. “I chose the people who were close to him that I knew would give me something wonderful,” she said. “I think the most memorable for me was when I was his photographer for 25 Years [of Design] at the Met. It was the first time anybody did something for a living designer and I was his personal, private photographer for the whole thing. My feet didn’t touch the ground the whole two weeks. We just had this wonderful raport together, we liked being in each other’s company and we liked each other. From day one it was like that.”

Yves Saint Laurent by Roxanne Lowit, $50, barnesandnoble.com.