By  on June 9, 2008

PARIS — A day after France said adieu to Yves Saint Laurent in a massive funeral mass, the late couturier's inner circle attended his cremation in an intimate gathering at the Père-Lachaise cemetery here Friday.

About 20 of Saint Laurent's closet circle were on hand, including Pierre Bergé, Betty Catroux, Loulou de la Falaise, Dominique Deroche, Charlotte Aillaud, Clara Saint, Madison Cox, François-Marie Banier, Connie Uzo and Saint Laurent's sister, Michelle Bastian.

Saint Laurent's remains were to be flown to Marrakech, where they will be laid in a mausoleum in the Majorelle Gardens, which he owned and restored with Bergé, his companion and business partner for 50 years.

Bergé hosted a small dinner Friday evening at the late couturier's Rue de Babylone residence on the Left Bank here, which is filled with masterworks by Goya, Mondrian, Matisse and Léger. Many of those who attended the cremation were on hand. During the course of the evening, Bergé spoke freely about his memories with Saint Laurent, including the time he shared the apartment with the designer. "I remember waking up every morning to the sound of tennis balls," he said ruefully, explaining how there once was a tennis court right behind Saint Laurent's lush garden.

Most present were only too conscious that this was certainly the last time they would visit Saint Laurent's Paris home, which was the apotheosis of the former couturier's sophisticated and eclectic taste, juxtaposing bronze statues by De Vries and Giambologna, with furniture from Eugene Printz, Pierre Legrain and Jean-Michel Franck.

Bergé revealed he planned to put the entire contents of Saint Laurent's home — along with his own Left Bank residence on the Rue Bonaparte — up for auction before the end of the year. Considering the pair's voracious appetites for collecting rare furniture and art, the sale is sure to be one of the most spectacular in recent memory. Bergé said he would not hold the sale at his own Paris auction house, though he did not say which auction company would get the business. "It should be before the end of the year," he said, adding that half of the results of the auction would go to the foundation and the rest would come to him.Saint Laurent and Bergé established a civil union in France not long before the designer's death on June 1, and the two are also believed to have established a common will, with each inheriting from the other.

Bergé left over the weekend for Morocco to oversee preparations for a ceremony on Wednesday during which Saint Laurent's ashes will be placed in a mausoleum in the Majorelle Gardens. About 60 people are expected to participate in the ceremony.

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