The formidable French haute couture team - Yves Saint-Laurent and his companion, businessman Pierre Bergé, allowed me access to their Avenue Montaigne headquarters as they set about preparing a fashion show extravaganza for the opening ceremony of the 1998 World Cup at the Stade de France.
Gaining access to their inner sanctum was a privilege I had been working on for a few years having met Pierre Bergé on a commission to make his portrait in 1996. I wrote to him with a copy of the picture I had made in his office and luckily he remembered me sufficiently well; in part because he remarked that I was the first photographer he'd met who turned up in a smart bespoke suit, a habit of long standing that has gained me access where others have failed.
While Saint-Laurent was somewhat reclusive due to fading health, Pierre Bergé was very much the chef d'orchestre of the YSL operation. Not one detail would escape his gaze. His meticulousness was legendary. Being in their presence was an opportunity I count myself lucky to have experienced.
These pictures are from an extensive archive of work I made with them over a period of two years.
All photos copyright © Derek Hudson 2020
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