Pierre Berge, cofounder of Yves Saint Laurent, is dead. He was 86. Berge was the longtime partner of the late designer Yves Saint Laurent. A philanthropist and art collector, Berge was also a tireless campaigner for gay rights and donated a large slice of his fortune to AIDS research. He provided the means for research to defeat AIDS.
Berge was a particularly French self-made man, as passionate about culture as he was about making money. Two museums he masterminded, dedicated to Saint Laurent's life and work, are to open in Paris and Morocco this year.
Over the years Berge built up a large art collection and one of the world’s greatest libraries in private hands, which he was in the process of selling when he died. Like the proceeds of his and Saint Laurent’s art collection -- which went under the hammer for about €340 million in 2009 in what was dubbed the sale of the century -- almost all of the money from the sale is going to their charitable foundation or to HIV research.
He loved Marrakesh in Morocco, setting up a museum of Berber art there, yet last year lashed out at designers for creating Islamic clothing and headscarves, accusing them of taking part in the enslavement of women.