Alain Coblence, Attorney and Confidante to Leading Fashion Designers, Dies at 75

Alain Coblence, an attorney who represented numerous high-profile designers, died May 13 at the age of 75.

His death at his home in Manhattan followed an eight-year battle with an undisclosed disease, according to his son Nicholas. A musical concert will be held at a later date to celebrate his life.

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Born in New York to French parents of Jewish descent who had sought refuge in New York in the latter part of World War II, Coblence was a toddler when the family returned to Paris to live. He studied at one point at Sciences Po before going on to earn his law degree at Nanterre. After passing the bar in Paris, he relocated with his first wife, Nora, to the U.S., where he enrolled at New York University’s law school. Coblence joined Phillips Nizer as an associate, where he learned about the business side of intellectual property, building upon his European-learned knowledge of literary and artistic property rights.

As a cultured Parisian transplant in New York City, he got to know several fashion industry executives, including Condé Nast’s dominating creative force for decades Alexander Liberman and his wife Tatiana Yacovleff du Plessix. Liberman connected the 27-year-old lawyer with Yves Saint Laurent’s business partner Pierre Bergé, who was in search of representation Stateside, and that business alliance was the start of a deep friendship.

Diane von Furstenberg recalled Monday how she first met Coblence through Lieberman and knew him forever. “Alain was a very reassuring figure between America and Paris. Of course, he was Yves Saint Laurent’s and Pierre Bergé’s trusted man as their lawyer. Alain was this very Franco American man, who everybody trusted and was very involved in fashion.”

Madison Cox, Bergé’s widower and president of the Fondation Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint Laurent, recalled first

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