A short communique circulated around the world this morning: “ The Pierre Berger Foundation - Yves Saint Laurent and the Garden Majorelle Foundation in Marrakech are deeply saddened to announce the passing of their founder and President Pierre Berger. He died in his sleep, at 5 hours 39 minutes in the morning, at his home in Saint-Remy-de-Provence. He was 86 years old."
The main business of Pierre Berger's life was the fashion house Yves Saint Laurent, which he founded in 1961 together with his close friend and business partner Yves Saint Laurent. When they met in 1958, the 28-year-old Berger immediately realized how talented Saint Laurent was and offered him his financial assistance and managerial support. Funds raised by Pierre Berger allowed Yves to open his fashion house at the age of 25 and in January 1962 to arrange the first fashion show in a mansion on rue Spontini.
Pierre Berger and Yves-Saint Laurent, Marrakech, 1977 © Musée Yves Saint Laurent Paris / Guy Marineau
It was Berger who insisted on expanding the range of haute couture and introducing an innovative ready-to-wear trend. And in 1989, under his leadership, the YSL Groupe became the first French fashion brand to be listed on the stock exchange. Thanks to the financial genius Berger, the sale of the fashion house to the Elf Sanofi group in 1993 also ended very profitably for both partners. Berger headed Yves Saint Laurent Haute Couture until the company closed in 2002.
In 1973, Pierre Berge was elected president of the French Chamber of haute couture (the Chambre Syndicale du Prêt-à-Porter Des Couturiers et des CRÉATEURS de-Mode), and in 1986 he founded the French Fashion Institute (Institut Français de la-Mode). It was largely through his efforts that French designers began to enter the international market, and the fashion phenomenon attracted the attention of museum curators. In 1983, the New York Metropolitan Museum hosted a retrospective of Yves Saint Laurent's dresses, timed to coincide with the 25th anniversary of his work. Saint Laurent was the first fashion designer to receive a lifetime exhibition within the walls of one of the largest museums in the world. It was curated by Diana Vreeland, editor-in-chief of American Voguepersonally selected over 150 sets of clothes from the archives of Yves Saint Laurent. Shortly after New York, Saint Laurent's dresses toured Beijing and Moscow (in December 1986).
Yves-Saint Laurent at the Costume Institute exhibition dedicated to him at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1983
The closure of Yves Saint Laurent Haute Couture in 2002 (prêt-a-porter YSL Rive Gauche was already owned by the Gucci Group (now Kering)) was the end of Yves Saint Laurent's 40-year design career. 5 thousand dresses, 15 thousand accessories, hundreds of photographs, sketches, fragments of fabrics, friendly presentations and letters had to be collected, systematized and presented to the public. To this end, December 5, 2002 was established by Pierre Berge Foundation - Yves Saint Laurent (the Fondation Pierre Bergé - Yves Saint of Laurent). The first exposition "Yves Saint Laurent, Dialogue with Art" was held in 2004.
Yves-Saint Laurent and Pierre Berger, Paris, 2002
In 2010, the Majorelle Garden in Marrakech was added to the Fondation Pierre Bergé - Yves Saint Laurent. A picturesque corner of nature, which at the beginning of the 20th century belonged to the French artist Jacques Majorelle, was bought by Berger and Saint Laurent, restored, saved from building and turned into a public place. A month later, October 19, 2017, here will open doors Museum Yves Saint Laurent (the Musée Yves Saint of Laurent Marrakech). The designer first visited Morocco half a century ago, and then Marrakech - one of the few - managed to bring him back to life. The building of the museum on a street named after the French couturier is built of concrete and terracotta bricks, and the textured surface of the facade resembles the interweaving of threads in fabrics. The famous tuxedos and safari jackets, as well as accessories, books and drawings by Saint Laurent will arrive in the museum very soon. There will be facilities for lectures and concerts, a cinema and a library.
Pierre Berger, Paris, 2017 © Luc Castel
The opening of the Saint Laurent Museum in Paris, in a historic building on Avenue Marceau, is scheduled for October 3. It was here that the master spent almost 30 years of his life, from 1974 to 2002, working on couture collections, arranging fittings, and receiving clients. At a press conference dedicated to the opening of Musée Yves Saint Laurent Paris, Pierre Berger said: “I have always said that memories should be turned into projects, and this is what our foundation did. In 2017, we are opening two Yves Saint Laurent museums. Our common adventure, which we began many years ago, not knowing at all what fate awaits him, continues. " Berger did not live to see the opening of the museum 25 days.>