TURNING THE TABLES: Pierre Bergé may be more comfortable in the role of Pygmalion, but a new biography shines the light on the millionaire businessman behind the success of Yves Saint Laurent. “Pierre Bergé — Le Faiseur d’étoiles” (“Pierre Bergé — Starmaker” in English) by journalist Béatrice Peyrani — published, appropriately, by Editions Pygmalion — explores the trajectory of the multitasking entrepreneur, whose activities span the fields of art, media, politics and philanthropy.
Having worked for publications including news weeklies Le Point and L’Expansion, Peyrani said she became interested in Bergé while covering the successive sales of the Saint Laurent empire and his failed bid for auction house Drouot. But what clinched it was the discovery of an old magazine at a second-hand bookstore near her family home in Provence. The February 1955 edition of “Parenthèses” — edited by Bergé at the time — featured paintings by his then-partner Bernard Buffet and a preface by author Jean Giono. “The highly modern layout and extremely free tone of this magazine intrigued me. I wanted to find out more and understand why Pierre Bergé, aged 25 at the time, was running this publication. That’s how it all started,” Peyrani said. A spokeswoman for Bergé said he had no comment about the book.