Remembering Pierre Bergé - genius behind Yves Saint Laurent and the czar of Paris opera.

The French fashion tycoon, philanthropist, art collector, the genius behind Yves Saint Laurent and the czar of Paris opera, died in France on Friday at the age of 86.

The death, from myopathy, a neuromuscular disorder, was announced by the Fondation Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint Laurent.

Berge was long-considered the brains behind the fashion house's rise to the top and was Saint Laurent's right-hand man.

Yves Saint Laurent fashion house was co-founder by Mr. Bergé and Mr. Saint Laurent in 1961, then lovers. They remained lifelong business partners but split in 1980s. Pierre ran the house until 2002.

Bergé married his last great love, the distinguished San Franciscan landscape architect Madison Cox, now the thoughtful guardian of an astonishing legacy of cultural and medical philanthropy.

People may hate me or love me, but they all want to brag that they once sat next to me at a dinner party
— Pierre Bergé
As I struggled through my questioning early teens, Saint Laurent and his partner, Pierre Bergé, became symbols not just of the insouciant perfection of their lives, friends, and surroundings, but also of a different relationship paradigm than the ones that shaped the media and the culture that I grew up with.
— Hamish Bowles


Mr. Bergé's way to raise attendance in Paris opera was a famous scandal in the music world when Bergé fired an artistic director Daniel Barenboim.

“His salary was too high and that his plans for the house were too elitist. Parisians at this stage want a Barnum more than a Toscanini,” he said.

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