AP - Pierre Berge, an influential French businessman, philanthropist and gay rights activist who helped build the fashion empire of his longtime lover Yves Saint Laurent, has died. He was 86.
A cultural celebrity in France in his own right, Berge was one of France's leading art patrons as well as serving as CEO of the Yves Saint Laurent fashion house and helping rescue Le Monde newspaper, among his many media investments.
He died in his sleep early Friday, September 8, at one of his homes in the southern town of Saint-Remy-de-Provence, following a long illness, according to the Pierre Berge-Yves Saint Laurent Foundation.
Berge was best known for helping Saint Laurent found his own fashion house in 1961 after leaving Christian Dior. What came next was a sartorial revolution, as Saint Laurent's pantsuits and styles capturing his era changed the way generations of women dressed.
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