PARIS — A last-minute funding snafu has beached plans for a massive exhibit in St. Petersburg dedicated to Yves Saint Laurent.

Pierre Berge, the retired couturier’s partner, said financing fell through for the Russian show, which was set to open with a gala fete on June 21.

“It’s a big disappointment, but what can I do?” Berge said. “I realized things weren’t going so well about a month ago.”

He said the city of St. Petersburg remained committed to rescheduling the exhibit for a later date. But Berge said he and Saint Laurent would agree only if all funding were deposited in the bank beforehand.

The exhibit was to be the largest tribute to Saint Laurent since his retirement in 2002. It was to take place in several locations, including the Hermitage Museum, and to feature some 300 original designs.

Major themes were to be Saint Laurent and art, music and theater; his wedding dress designs, and an homage to Russia, including the designer’s memorable Russian-inspired collection of 1977.

Meanwhile, Berge said the next exhibit at the Saint Laurent Foundation here would be “Smoking Forever,” a look at Saint Laurent’s myriad smoking suit designs. It is scheduled to bow Oct. 2.

“I can assure you it will open on time,” Berge quipped.

This story first appeared in the June 9, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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