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Yves Saint Laurent co-founder Pierre Bergé dies aged 86

Pierre Bergé, the French fashion tycoon behind the Yves Saint Laurent empire, died Friday, aged 86.

In a joint statement, the two foundations that Bergé founded with Saint Laurent announced that he had died at his home following a “long illness”.

Bergé, who co-founded the famous fashion label with Saint Laurent (both pictured above) in 1961 was the late designer’s longtime partner. Pierre Bergé was fundamental in establishing Laurent as a global brand, he advised Laurent to franchise the YSL boutiques and license the name to accessory manufacturers, resulting in the 21st century’s global obsession with mass luxury. In addition to being a fashion visionary, he was a tireless campaigner for gay rights and donated a large part of his fortune to Aids research.

Bergé was a backer and confidant of former president François Mitterrand and more recently, supported Emmanuel Macron’s successful campaign for the Élysée Palace.

Former French culture minister Jack Lang led tributes to a man he called a “true prince of the arts and culture. He was a magician who made his life and those who he loved a symphony of happiness,” he said.

Two museums dedicated to the life and work of Saint Laurent, financed by the foundation the two men founded, are to open in Paris and Morocco this year.

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