Pierre Berge who co-founded the fashion house Yves Saint Laurent along with his lover and fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent in 1961 is no more. A statement released by the fashion house said “It is with immense sadness that the Fondation Pierre Bergé – Yves Saint Laurent, Paris and the Fondation Jardin Majorelle, Marrakech announce the death of their founding president Pierre Bergé, which occurred on September 8, 2017, at 5.39 am, at home in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence. He died in his sleep at the age of 86 following a long illness”.
Berge was an influential figure in world fashion and managed the fashion house till 2002, along with Yves Saint Laurent, who expired in 2008. He was closely linked with other arts and cultural initiatives in France; and was also elected president of the Chambre Syndicale du Prêt-à-Porter Des Couturiers et des Créateurs de Mode and he founded the Institut Français de la Mode in 1986. He was also a vocal campaigner for gay rights and AIDS research, donating millions of pounds to the fight against the illness through the Fondation Pierre Bergé – Yves Saint Laurent. He was also an active supporter of Act Up-Paris and SOS Racisme
Remembering him, former French culture minister Jack Lang said “He was a magician who made his life and those who he loved a symphony of happiness. Pierre Bergé was above all a marvellous and loyal friend, who was there to take on all the good fights, the noble causes, in particular to provide the means for research to defeat AIDS.”
Under Mr. Bergé’s guidance, haute couture became more of a bottom-line business responsible for making money for the fashion house. He also used the success of the clothing line to promote handbags, perfumes and other fashion accessories. Though his clients were mostly rich and conservative, he was a staunch supporter of the Socialist Party, contributor to liberal causes and a patron and arbiter of literature, theater and music.
“People may hate me or love me, but they all want to brag that they once sat next to me at a dinner party,” he once famously said on his fame and success.
iKarmik says, Pierre Berge was not just the co-founder of the iconic fashion house Yves Saint Laurent that inspired many a fashion trend in the world, but also was an avid art collector and opera lover. The new generation of fashion designers will definitely miss him and his fashion statements.