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Monday, 2 June 2008

Pierre Bergé; now who was he?

Saint-Laurent is dead. And Pierre Bergé is, according to The Guardian "his business partner", Mail "longtime friend and associate." Telegraph didn't mention Bergé.

But according to The Times and The Independent "his business partner and lover." (Indie got it sortof right: "former lover".)

The BBC initially said "longtime friend and associate" (the AP story) but later changed this to "former business and personal partner." "Personal"? What is going on at the BBC? This reads like PC neurosis.

None of them nailed the true fact: no Pierre Bergé, no Saint-Laurent.

Here's the more authoritative (online lead) take from the New York Times:
In September 1961, Mr. Saint Laurent announced plans to open his own haute couture house in partnership with his lover, Pierre Bergé. Mr. Bergé remained his lifelong business partner and was responsible for the company’s financial success, although they split up as a couple in the early 1980’s.
Somehow, none of the British press + BBC have this information readily to hand. Sheesh.

Update: Reading the later, more considered, obituaries in the UK press this point is completely reinforced. Closeting gay artists after death has a long history. 2008 and it just happened to Robert Rauschenberg.

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