Friday, October 16, 2009

Yves Saint Laurent - Pierre Bergé bis

Little Augury has been exploring fascinating terrain in her recent post: should we judge a book by its cover? Literally and figuratively, we do. And if we do, we should take into account cultural bagage, what you bring with you when you are face to face with something new, with any experience in fact. Take the same book and observe the differences in the American book cover, the British one, the French one etc. Sometimes a flashy best seller from the US is published with an artistic or intellectual looking cover in France. The novel is the same, but our impression is different. Is this just marketing? (There seems to be less difference in recent years though.)

A book on art or decoration doesn't undergo such radical changes. There is the integrity of the work or artist to be taken into account, but choices are made. The results can be very different.The beauté above (top photo) is the cover of the French edition of the Robert Murphy/Ivan Terestchenko book on Yves St Laurent and Pierre Bergé. It is the purist of the three covers (see below and Little Augury).
Is that YSL and PB as the Greek god Janus, keeping watch at the gate of their secret paradise? Does Janus, looking to the past and to the future, mark the transition for the places, people and things contained between the covers of this book? The mood is solemnly commemorative as with a funerary stele. Is this a way of not turning the page?! In any case, even if this is the edition you prefer, the book that came out only in February is not available; it's already out of stock. Good news! The word from Ivan Terestchenko is that it will be available once again at the end of the year.

For more of the stunning photography of Ivan Terestchenko, click*

Open door, color, pattern.

Closed space, graphic elegance.

Along with the aesthetic, notice too the title differences.

Are the differences more due to the respective audiences or to their views of YSL-Pierre Bergé?

The universe may be expanding but this old world is shrinking. Where differences exist, let them be celebrated, because even in imitating we always manage to create something new.


  1. Wow! this is such a perfect extension of the suggestion I imply. Thank you for adding so much. I am adding this to my story. GT

  2. Comme tu veux! You're a great inspiration and so much fun!

  3. The main difference between the three covers is that the original, meaning the french one, is the only one designed by Peter Saville using this particular photo which I knew would make a meaningful and attractive cover when I shot it. Saville was very cross when the British editor decided to change the cover and not use his design. The french edition of the book will be republished and available by the end of this year.

  4. It is absolutely stunning and when you see it just makes sense. People who are sensitive to the work of YSL and the beautiful things he collected with PB would certainly all agree. Thanks for your comment. I'll place my order !

  5. Now it would be nice to know if there are any changes inside the book!

  6. How great to get Ivan Terestchenko's comment. That explains much. When I saw the French cover-it resonates- a collection of complexities & the men who shared a life of the same. Can't we see the watering down...the UK-should it be referred to as just that(?) or the European UK/FR. It is fascinating. I had seen the UK cover and that one pleased me more.That is why I purchased 2. Then I decided to collected the US cover & I guess you now know what comes next. Gaye

  7. When you see the strength of the original French cover, you know the book itself is treated as a work of art. The UK book can probably be regarded as the English version for Europe and much of the world, but the American market is enormous in itself. Obviously, English books have higher print runs...I'm sure the book owners are thrilled all the same.