Saint Laurent Co-Founder Pierre Bergé Dies at 86 – The Business of Fashion

PARIS, France — French businessman and artwork patron Pierre Bergé, who co-based the Yves Saint Laurent style home in 1961, has died at age 86 at his nation residence in St-Remy-de-Provence, in southern France, following a protracted sickness, his basis mentioned on Friday.

Bergé was the life and enterprise associate of Yves Saint Laurent, who died in 2008 at the age of 71. Bergé and Saint Laurent married in a civil ceremony within the ultimate yr of Saint Laurent’s life. Bergé since remarried to gardener Madison Cox.

Each leaders of France's main luxurious conglomerates paid homage to Bergé on Friday. François-Henri Pinault, chairman and chief government of Kering, mentioned in a press release: "It's with nice emotion that I be taught of the dying of Pierre Bergé, an individual integral to the historical past of the Home of Yves Saint Laurent. I'll at all times bear in mind him as a person instilled with a fertile stress between avant-gardism and the need to work relentlessly to inscribe creation in historical past. From the outset, he wished to protect all of the archives of Yves Saint Laurent’s work; an inestimable patrimony that may quickly be made out there for the general public the world over to see in distinctive museums. This man who has simply left us was an amazing cultural determine, and a person with convictions he fought tirelessly to uphold. Pierre Bergé was at the identical time a visionary precursor, an amazing patron, a artistic and passionate businessman and a defender of noble and common causes. He was a tireless patron of younger creation, notably by way of the Andam Affiliation (Affiliation Nationale des Arts de la Mode) he had created — he was additionally a beneficiant patron of heritage. A person I deeply respect."

Bernard Arnault, chairman and chief government of LVMH mentioned in a press release: "I'm deeply saddened by Pierre Bergé’s passing away. His huge cultural information and refined style made him an amazing pioneer. He made a substantial contribution to France’s highlight on the earth, each by the Maison that he based and directed, in addition to the cultural establishments that he presided."

Bergé was born on the Île d’Oléron in 1930. The son of a schoolteacher and a civil servant, he took an early curiosity in literature and moved to Paris in 1948 the place he turned a ebook supplier specialising in first editions. He socialised with writers together with Pierre Mac Orlan, Jean Cocteau (over whose work he owned rights), Louis Aragon, Albert Camus, Jean-Paul Sartre, and André Breton. In 1950 he met the painter Bernard Buffet and so they turned lovers, with Bergé guiding Buffet’s profession over the subsequent eight years.

In 1958, he met Yves Saint Laurent, who was then the pinnacle designer at Christian Dior following Dior’s dying in 1957. When Saint Laurent was dismissed from the home and conscripted for navy service, Bergé helped stage his return with the Yves Saint Laurent haute couture home in 1961. Bergé would handle it till 2002.

In 1973 he was elected president of the Chambre Syndicale du Prêt-à-Porter des Couturiers et des Créateurs de Mode. In 1986 he created the Institut Français de la Mode, which offers training associated to the style and textile industries. He continued to preside over this establishment till his dying. Bergé was additionally the founding president of the Fondation Pierre Bergé - Yves Saint Laurent, which was recognised as a nationwide establishment in 2002 and works to preserve Saint Laurent’s physique of work, organise exhibitions, and assist cultural and academic actions.

Within the 1960s, Bergé expanded Saint Laurent’s enterprise operations from high fashion — which Brigitte Bardot famously quipped was “for the grannies” in 1958 — into the much more worthwhile prepared-to-put on market; he established Saint Laurent Rive Gauche boutiques in Paris, New York and different cities throughout the globe. The off-the-rack practicality of Saint Laurent’s youth- and artwork-impressed designs lent itself to the trendy girl’s life-style.

When the high fashion operations had been struggling to remain afloat, Bergé bought the prepared-to-put on division to the Squibb Company in 1971, solely to purchase it again two years later. In 1986 he bought 25 p.c of the Saint Laurent enterprise to Italian entrepreneur Carlo de Benedetti and used the cash to buy Charles of the Ritz, which owned a quantity of designer perfumes, together with a number of Saint Laurent fragrances like the most effective-promoting Opium and Rive Gauche.

He mentioned in an interview that whereas the home was created in 1962, it solely began changing into worthwhile in 1977. “It really works however throughout the slim limits of high fashion,” he told Grazia France final month. “We had been at the start of the '60s and already the couture was at the tip of the race, we knew that it was doomed to vanish.”

In 1989 Bergé oversaw the itemizing of Yves Saint Laurent Groupe on the Paris Bourse. It was a profitable transfer and buying and selling needed to be halted in the course of the first two days as a result of great amount of purchase provides for every of the 400,000 shares initially put up on the market. By 1990 the YSL Groupe was making $500 million in annual gross sales.

After income and share costs plunged in the course of the subsequent few years, Bergé organized a deal for himself and Saint Laurent in 1993 by promoting the YSL Groupe for $655 million to Elf Sanofi S.A., the French pharmaceutical large, which additionally owned Roger & Gallet and the fragrance licences for Van Cleef & Arpels, Oscar de la Renta, Fendi and Krizia.

In 1999, Sanofi bought Yves Saint Laurent Groupe to Gucci, which was below the possession and management of Domenico de Sole, then Gucci's president and chief government officer, and Tom Ford, then Gucci's artistic director. The sale coincided with the acquisition of 42 p.c stake within the Gucci Group by Pinault-Printemps-Redoute’ (now Kering) for $three billion. Though Bergé was believed to be unsupportive of Tom Ford — who took over from Saint Laurent as artistic director in 1999 — he was complimentary in the direction of Hedi Slimane, who was artistic director from 2012 to 2016.

In addition to style, Bergé was energetic in media, cultural and political circles, and has been a outstanding patron of AIDS analysis for the reason that late 1980s. He sat on the boards of a number of cultural establishments, and, with Saint Laurent, collected the work of artists together with Marcel Duchamp, Henri Matisse, Giorgio de Chirico, Piet Mondrian and Andy Warhol, in addition to a priceless assortment of Previous Grasp work, Artwork Deco furnishings, and Chinese language and African antiques. In 2009, the gathering was bought at the Grand Palais in Paris for the sum of practically €375 million, benefitting the Fondation Pierre Bergé – Yves Saint Laurent and AIDS analysis.

By Globe, he co-based with thinker Bernard-Henri Lévy within the mid-1980s, Bergé is alleged to have been influential within the re-election of François Mitterrand, France’s struggling Socialist president, in 1988. In 2010, Bergé swooped in to save lots of France’s struggling newspaper of report Le Monde, from extinction when he put up the money with two different buyers, Matthieu Pigasse and Xavier Niel, to turn into a majority shareholder. He was additionally one of the earliest supporters of Emmanuel Macron, who received the French election in a landslide victory in Might.

Bergé's passing comes as two new main museums devoted to Yves Saint Laurent are to be opened by the Basis Pierre Bergé - Yves Saint Laurent, largely due to his efforts to archive the designer’s work as seen on the catwalk from an early stage. The first museum will open in Paris at 5 Avenue Marceau, the previous website of the Yves Saint Laurent couture home. One other one will open in October in Marrakech, which Bergé and Saint Laurent frequented all through their lives, and the place there's a devoted “Rue Yves Saint Laurent”.

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Saint Laurent Co-Founder Pierre Bergé Dies at 86 - The Business of Fashion