pierre berge

L’amour Fou

as i mentioned in my post a week ago Mariah blogs over at Quite Continental, and i was thrilled when she sent me this post because one of my favourite things to delve into at her blog are stories of great loves – you also need to read her post about Winston Churchill & Clementine Hozier.


In February, my mind frequently turns to great love stories: stories of grand gestures, of passions that burned brightly and then out, of couples that stayed together for years, of couples that could not live without each other.  Coincidentally, I finally saw L’amour Fou this month, a documentary detailing the 50 year relationship of Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé, and the record-breaking auction of their massive collection of art and objet d’art that ultimately totaled €342m in sales.

A heart-breaking, quietly mournful story, you easily glean a sense of how hard a man Saint Laurent was to love and the fact that Bergé never stopped loving him.  At the time of Saint Laurent’s death, the two had actually been separated for some years, but married a few days prior to Saint Laurent’s passing, in a final symbolic gesture of their relationship: Bergé would be left to handle the tidying up the details of their long partnership and life together.

“I remember your first collection under your name and the tears at the end. Then the years passed. Oh, how they passed quickly. The divorce was inevitable but the love never stopped.

I don’t know how to say good-bye because I can never leave you. We will never watch a sunset together again. We will never share the emotions together before a painting again. Someday I will join you under the palm trees of Morocco. 

I want to tell you my admiration, my profound respect and my love.” 

Bergé at the funeral of Saint Laurent

Yves Saint Laurent became an apprentice to Christian Dior at the age of 18, and became the head of the fashion house at the age of 21 when Dior suddenly died in 1958.  In 1960, Saint Laurent and Bergé founded the fashion house that bears the Saint Laurent’s name, which is where he would design his tuxedo or “Le Smoking” for women and many memorable collections.  But by 1976, Saint Laurent and Bergé had ended their romantic relationship.  Remarkably, they remained business partners and close friends.

One of their most special places can be found in Marrakesh, Morocco: the Jardin Majorelle.  A botanical garden that dates back to the colonial period when Morocco was a protectorate of France in the 1920s, it was designed by French expat Jacques Majorelle and was a favorite place of Bergé and Saint Laurent.  Open to the public since 1947, when the garden was in danger of being purchased and converted into a hotel in 1980, Bergé and Saint Laurent simply purchased it so that it could remain a public place.  Their foundation maintains it to this day.  After his death, Saint Laurent’s ashes were scattered in their beloved garden.  Bergé will one day join him.

L’amour Fou is an exceptionally well-done documentary that examines one of the greatest names in modern fashion through the eyes of the man who loved him fiercely in life and now mourns him quietly in death.  It traces their relationship from the first painting they bought together to their first trip to Morocco to the last fall of the auctioneer’s gavel.  I cannot recommend it enough and I hope one day soon I will walk through their bright blue garden in Morocco.

15