YVES SAINT LAURENT's former partner has hailed the designer as ''prolific''

The iconic fashion designer - who died in 2008 leaving behind a fashion empire - is being honoured in the UK with an intimate collection of his personal creations entitled 'Saint Laurent: Style is Eternal' and the late designer's former lover and co-founder of YSL, Pierre Berge, has praised the show.

He said: ''I know all the work of Saint Laurent. But yes, every time we have an exhibition there are pieces I hadn't seen in a long time which I get to rediscover. I love that.

''You know Yves has created an enormous amount of items, he was extremely prolific.''

The collection includes classic pieces such as 'Le Smoking', the first tuxedo trouser suit created for women, and a dazzling pink silk dress and will be shown at the Bowes museum in County Durham, North East England.

He added: ''The location also clearly reflects Yves Saint Laurent's and my own passion for inspiring, timeless places.

''It is the perfect setting for us - a museum built as a French chateau, in the age of the Second Empire.''

The 84-year-old lifelong friend of the iconic designer recalled the time the couple met in the 60's.

He told BBC News: ''I never wanted to be a businessman. When I met Yves Saint Laurent and he lost his position at Dior, he said, 'Let's start our own label, you and I.' And that's what we did.''