YVES SAINT LAURENT

"It's as though he has a layer of skin missing. He's very sensitive to whatever is going on and feels things very, very deeply," Susan Train once said. Saint Laurent acquired that protective layer of skin in the form of Pierre Berg茅, his ferociously loyal companion, whom he had met before his military service. It was Berg茅 who finally extricated him from Val-de-Grace. When Saint Laurent came home to find that he had been supplanted at Dior by Marc Bohan, Berg茅 blunted this fresh trauma by springing into action. He tended to Saint Laurent's daily needs with single-minded devotion, while quickly assembling the elements-a salon space, an investor-for their own couture house.

1961 : Wins a suit against Dior for breach of contract. Sets up temporary headquarters at 66 rue La Bo茅tie. November: Saint Laurent and Berg茅 sign a deal with American businessman J. Mack Robinson securing a $700,000 investment over three years, in exchange for 80 percent equity. Several of Dior's staffers decamp to Yves Saint Laurent, prompting Dior to issue a writ upon the new house.

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