French fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent, in Moscow for the opening of a retrospective exhibit of his work, charmed an audience of Soviet art and fashion writers yesterday with his views on style. Mr. Saint Laurent said he was making his first visit to the Soviet Union at the request of Raisa Gorbachev, wife of the Kremlin leader, who asked him to come when she visited his fashion boutique in Paris last year.
``It has always been my dream to visit Russia, and perhaps to leave a little mark of my own behind,'' Saint Laurent told journalists who attended a preview of the exhibit.
Although he said he had brought the show to the Soviet Union for ``strictly artistic reasons,'' he hinted that he might follow the example of French designer Pierre Cardin, who plans to open a boutique in Moscow within the next two years.
``I think the Soviet Union is big enough for both Mr. Cardin and for me,'' Saint Laurent said with a smile.
``We came here to exhibit our work of the past 28 years without thinking about whether or not there is a market. But we will see what happens.''
Before Saint Laurent spoke, journalists viewed the display of his work, which included models dressed in examples from his 1976-77 winter collection based on Russian peasant designs.
``Russian ethnic clothing has always inspired me. What interests me is the simplicity of the cut - Tolstoy's smock, for example,'' the designer said.
He said the style of a designer was more important than fashion trends, explaining: ``Fashion passes, style is eternal.''