Pierre Bergé

FRIENDS: Around 400 personalities from the world of culture, politics and fashion attended a private gathering at Parisian Art Deco caviar restaurant Prunier Wednesday night to pay homage to Pierre Bergé.

As reported, the powerhouse figure in French culture and politics died at the age of 86 on Friday after a long illness. He passed away at home in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, France. A private cremation ceremony was held for him on Tuesday, and a public ceremony may take place in a few months’ time, although nothing is yet confirmed.

An official at the Pierre Bergé — Yves Saint Laurent Foundation confirmed the guests at Prunier included Saint Laurent muses Betty Catroux, Rebecca Ayoko and Catherine Deneuve. France’s former president François Hollande is also said to have been at the event, as well.

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Nicolas Barruyer, the restaurant’s director, said attendees signed a guest book and paid their condolences to Bergé’s husband, American landscape gardener Madison Cox, who is vice president of both the Fondation Pierre Bergé — Yves Saint Laurent and the Fondation Jardin Majorelle in Morocco. The two got married in a private ceremony in Paris on March 31.

Poignantly, it was Bergé who saved Prunier from destruction in the late Nineties, Barruyer explained. Located on the Avenue Victor Hugo, the restaurant with its magnificent decor is protected as a French national landmark. A caviar aficionado, Bergé, who in the late Nineties purchased one of the few remaining caviar farms in France’s Gironde region, acquired in 2000 the then-shuttered restaurant.

“The workers were literally about to get stuck in with their hammers, when two officials pulled up on motorbikes and put a stop to it. He saved the restaurant just like he saved many things,” said Barruyer. “Yves Saint Laurent’s first atelier was on Rue Spontini, and I remember [Bergé] telling me they would come to have lunch here. He had a real attachment to the place.”

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