BERGE BLOCKS SAINT LAURENT DOCUMENTARY
Byline: Robert Murphy
PARIS — Yves Saint Laurent junkies will have to wait a little longer for an intimate glimpse into the couturier’s rarefied world.
Pierre Berge, Saint Laurent’s business partner, told WWD Wednesday he had successfully blocked distribution of a feature-length documentary, “5, Avenue Marceau,” that was slated for release in theaters here this fall.
In a judgment handed down on July 4, the Tribunal de Grande Instance de Paris forbade filmmaker Olivier Meyrou from distributing the film and ordered payment of $1,300 in damages to Berge.
Meyrou had filed the case, seeking legal authorization to distribute the movie documenting two years of Saint Laurent and Berge’s day-to-day life leading up to the designer’s 40th-anniversary celebration in 1998. Beyrou is believed to have compiled reels of candid — and some explosive — footage.
Berge said he blocked distribution of the film because Meyrou violated his and Saint Laurent’s trust. He said Meyrou was initially hired to film the footage for the house’s private use. But Berge did not comment on the film’s content.
“I hadn’t heard from Beyrou for two years and then I learned from the film’s producer that it was to be released,” said Berge. “Quelle surprise! I immediately moved to block it.”
Berge blamed Christophe Girard, Berge’s right-hand man at YSL for some 20 years before he left to become director of strategy at LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, for the situation. He claimed Girard, who is also deputy mayor of Paris, had a non-binding contract drawn up between the house and Meyrou with neither Berge’s knowledge nor consent. The court judgement nullified that contract in its decision.
“Mr. Girard consulted neither with me nor Yves,” said Berge. Neither Girard, who was traveling, nor Beyrou could be reached for contact.
Meanwhile, another documentary — this time authorized — will be aired by French cable channel Canal Plus on Jan. 23, 2002, the day of Saint Laurent’s next couture presentation. It was filmed by Frenchman David Teboule.
“This one is with our consent,” said Berge.