BERGE MULLS COMMUNIST MAYORAL RUN
PARIS — Communist chic is the latest trend to sweep the City of Light.
Hot on the heels of Miuccia Prada’s fete Oct. 12 at French Communist headquarters to celebrate the opening of the Miu Miu flagship here, Yves Saint Laurent couture chief Pierre Berge has indicated he is considering running as a Communist candidate in upcoming local elections.
Berge recently told Communist chief Robert Hue he would consider running under the party banner for mayor of the Left Bank’s posh Sixth arrondissement.
“I’ve known Mr. Hue for a long time,” Berge told WWD. “When I expressed my interest in running for mayor in the Sixth, he was very pleased. He said that if I do so, he would back my bid by not proposing another candidate.”
Berge indicated his platform would be to quell the recent invasion of global luxury brands, including Giorgio Armani, Christian Dior and Louis Vuitton, into the neighborhood long synonymous with literary and artistic creation.
“I want to save the Sixth from all of these faceless, global brands,” said Berge. “They have pushed out the small, French-run businesses that used to make the neighborhood’s charm.”
Asked if it was contradictory for the head of a couture house to adopt the cause of the people, Berge replied: “Not at all. The Communist party has a long history of defending liberty in France. They fought in the resistance during the Second World War. They are on the right side.”
Although not a card-carrying Communist, Berge has long harbored leftist leanings and was a close confidant to late Socialist president Francois Mitterrand.
Berge said he will make up his mind whether to run within the next month. Local elections will be held next March. “At my age, I don’t know if I want to enter the political ranks,” said Berge. “I really have to think it over.”
Reacting to Berge’s eventual candidature, Denis Duvot, head of the party’s election cell, was quick to point out Hue’s support was not enough to assure a bid.
“The party congress has to vote for the nomination of all candidates. Mr. Hue’s voice does not suffice.”
Hue was not immediately available for comment.
Duvot said he was surprised to learn of Hue’s support for Berge.
“It doesn’t adhere to our campaign against inequality” he commented.