NEW YORK -- Nan Kempner, a society page fixture and avid couture customer, died of emphysema Sunday at her Manhattan apartment. She was 74 and a heavy smoker.
Ms. Kempner was known as an unabashed clotheshorse particularly dedicated to designer Yves Saint Laurent. She epitomized the type of woman author Tom Wolfe dubbed ''social X-rays" -- so thin they look like X-ray pictures.
Gossip columnist Liz Smith said Ms. Kempner ''was just a lot of fun.
''Her greatest quote was that if there was no shopping in heaven she wasn't going," Smith said yesterday. ''She was just a very lighthearted charmer. She was painfully thin and wore clothes beautifully. She didn't take herself seriously like her peers in her social set."
Ms. Kempner, born Nan Field Schlesinger in San Francisco on July 24, 1930, attended Connecticut College for Women but did not graduate. She studied at the Sorbonne during a junior year abroad and took art lessons from Fernand Leger.
''He said I was a disgrace and had so little talent I should go back to San Francisco and stop wasting my parents' money," she once recalled.
She married Thomas Kempner, chairman of the investment banking house Loeb Partners, in 1952. The family lived in a Park Avenue duplex filled with art and clothes; Ms. Kempner turned her children's rooms into walk-in closets after they left home.
Ms. Kempner donated many of her outfits to museums and charities, and she served on a number of boards and charity committees.
She worked as a special editor of Harper's Bazaar in the 1960s, as a design consultant for
Her book, ''R.S.V.P.: Menus for Entertaining From People Who Really Know How," was published by Clarkson Potter in 2000, with the proceeds going to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
Besides her husband, she leaves two sons, a daughter, and six grandchildren.