Husband Yves Saint Laurent
Pierre Bergé (14 November 1930 – 8 September 2017) was a French award-winning industrialist and patron. He co-founded the fashion label Yves Saint Laurent, and was a longtime business partner (and onetime life partner) of the eponymous designer.
Bergé was born in Oléron (Charente-Maritime) on 14 November 1930. His mother, Christiane, was a progressive teacher, who used the Montessori method. His father worked for the tax office. Bergé attended the Lycée Eugène Fromentin in La Rochelle, and, later, went to Paris. On the day of his arrival, as he was walking on the Champs-Élysées, French poet Jacques Prévert landed on him following a fall from his apartment window.
At the age of 18 in La Rochelle, I decided to leave my family. The day I arrived in Paris, I went for a walk on the Champs-Elysées when suddenly I saw a man go through a French window, fall through the air, grab at a store sign and crash at my feet. He was bleeding profusely. An ambulance arrived and took him to Marmottan hospital. The next day, I discovered in the newspapers that it had been Jacques Prévert. I have always considered it an omen that the same day I got to Paris, a poet fell on my head.— Pierre Bergé
During his early years in Paris, Bergé met both Albert Camus and Sartre through his involvement in leftist organisations, including editing a short-lived leftist magazine. Bergé also befriended and dated the young French artist Bernard Buffet, and helped facilitate Buffet's success.
Bergé met Yves Saint Laurent in 1958. They became romantically involved and together launched Yves Saint Laurent Couture House in 1961. The couple split amicably in 1976 and remained lifelong friends and business partners. Bergé acted as CEO of Yves Saint Laurent Haute Couture until it closed in 2002. Highly protective of and invested in the reputation and legacy of Saint Laurent Couture, Bergé was known as the "Dean of Yves Saint Laurent". According to The New York Times, a few days before Saint Laurent died in 2008, he and Bergé were joined in a same-sex civil union known as a pacte civil de solidarité (PACS) in France. When Saint Laurent was diagnosed with brain cancer, Bergé and the doctor mutually decided that it would be better for him not to know of his impending death. Bergé said, "I have the belief that Yves would not have been strong enough to accept that."
In 1992, Bergé sold shares of the fashion house just before the company released a poor economic report. In 1996, this action was deemed to be insider trading and he was sentenced to a fine of one million Francs. After the close of the Couture house, Bergé became president of the Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint Laurent Foundation.
During Bergé's eulogy of Saint Laurent, he reflected on their lifetime of memories, saying;
I remember your first collection under your name and the tears at the end. Then the years passed. Oh, how they passed quickly. The divorce was inevitable but the love never stopped.
Bergé died of myopathy on 8 September 2017, in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, at the age of 86. He is survived by his husband, landscape architect Madison Cox, whom Bergé married in March 2017.
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