Berge-Saint Laurent Art and Furniture Collection
Pierre Bergé has argued that inimitable couturier Yves Saint-Laurent was more focused upon style rather than fashion. Their art and furniture collection was a testament to this heightened sense of style, one that Saint-Laurent cultivated throughout his career as a kind of personal quest for joy. The Bergé-Saint-Laurent collection was sold at Christie’s over a year and a half ago, yet it still resonates as this century’s largest auction of the personal aspects and intimate expressions of Saint-Laurent and Bergé’s lifelong collaboration. In terms of work Bergé and Saint-Laurent were inseparable even if they were, at times, separated from one another.
Now the collection is a fading memory of a great house. This memory helped create a beautiful book, The Private World of Yves Saint-Laurent and Pierre Bergé. Rather than showing strange portraits of a lost world, this book depicts a singularly private world, heretofore untouched, and therefore untapped, in terms of interior design. While the publicity surrounding the Christie’s auction highlighted the works by Ingres, Matisse and Picasso, as well as the rumor that certain Monet paintings hung in the bathroom of 55, rue de Babylone, the furniture cache and décor also mark a coup in terms of access we now have to Saint-Laurent’s taste. Bergé and Saint-Laurent commissioned incredible works from the Lalannes, including the mirrors and bronze-work in the “Music Room.” They purchased original pieces by Gustave Miklos, an Art Deco sculptor and designer who created low, backless chairs covered in leopard skin. They interspersed their love of Art Deco with ancient pieces of stone and bronze sculpture, and they did so with unparalleled success.
This is why we need this book. Again, Bergé has hinted that the essence of Saint-Laurent’s style lies in his sense of taste as opposed to his clothing designs. Thus, the Saint-Laurent taste is not limited to fashion but is rather a sense of how Saint-Laurent shaped his world. 55 rue de Babylone was a temple to this taste, an intimate space where an often-melancholy master could express himself—perhaps even be himself—most freely. To this end, the Christie’s auction gave the public a glimpse of how one great man and his partner not only grasped the world at hand, but also created a world in which Saint-Laurent wanted to live.