“No one was more quintessentially Parisian than Yves,” Mr. Cox said. “But he would go to Marrakesh whenever he could.”
The plan for the pair of institutions was born in Paris after Mr. Bergé and Mr. Saint Laurent sold the Rive Gauche ready-to-wear brand to Gucci Group (now Kering) in 1999. In the billion-dollar deal, Mr. Bergé and Mr. Saint Laurent retained control of the haute couture division and the company’s headquarters at 5 Avenue Marceau, which they had been leasing since 1974.
Following Mr. Saint Laurent’s retirement in 2002, they bought the building and transformed it into the foundation headquarters, with about 2,200 square feet of galleries on the ground level for temporary exhibits. Mr. Saint Laurent and Mr. Bergé maintained their longtime offices on the second floor, while a climate-controlled storage space on the third and fourth floors held Mr. Saint Laurent’s vast archives, which Mr. Bergé began conserving in 1964.
They opened the galleries to the public in 2004, offering three or four exhibitions each year, from ruminations on Mr. Saint Laurent’s designs to celebrations of the art and literature he loved, like the work of David Hockney and Marcel Proust.
After Mr. Saint Laurent died in 2008 at 71, Mr. Bergé oversaw the foundation on his own and realized the shows that revolved around Mr. Saint Laurent’s clothes were by far the most popular.
Two years ago, Mr. Cox said, “an idea started to germinate to transform the temporary spaces into a semipermanent exhibition on Saint Laurent. There is great interest in Saint Laurent’s work today, by both those who grew up with him, and the younger generation who know the brand but not his designs.
“Pierre understood that we needed to create a context where Saint Laurent’s work could be viewed,” he said.
Mr. Bergé asked an old friend, the interior designer Jacques Grange, who had decorated the couture house in the 1980s as well as several of…