When it comes to how much Yves Saint Laurent contributed to the world of fashion, it’s hard to figure out where to begin. He was, without a question, one of the greatest designers of all time. A notorious introvert, the designer would hole up and feverishly sketch away, introducing never-before-seen designs, like the iconic Le Smoking suit, that would not only go on to shape the landscape of fashion and be referenced years later, but also inspire awe and excitement with each collection (it wasn’t uncommon for his shows to end with a standing ovation).
But it’s even harder to talk about Saint Laurent without Loulou de La Falaise. Much like many great geniuses, Saint Laurent wasn’t without his demons—he came with a whole set of neuroses that would plague him until the very end—and de La Falaise, his forever muse, was one of the very few who was able to placate him. Such was their incredibly complicated and inextricably intertwined relationship, a subject that’s explored in Christopher Petkanas’ new tome “Loulou & Yves,” published by St. Martin’s Press. Billed as the “the untold story of Loulou de La Falaise and the House of Saint Laurent,” the book chronicles de La Falaise’s life through memories of more than 200 voices, including Andy Warhol, Karl Lagerfeld, Diana Vreeland, and more.
“It is important to have Loulou beside when I work on a collection…Her presence at my side is a dream,” Saint Laurent once said of de La Falaise in the book. “It has to do with her manner, her straightforwardness…I can’t explain her job…My working methods are lighter and less anxious now that Loulou is here. I trust her reactions.”
Born to French writer Count Alain Le Bailly de La Falaise and model Maxime Birley, de La Falaise’s trajectory was practically written in the stars. A free-spirit celebrated as the “highest of haute bohemia,” de La Falaise was a style icon descended from Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli. “Back then, Loulou was very English hippie, in long skirts that looked a bit like the curtains. But on her they were chic,” said Betty Catroux, another longtime YSL muse. “What’s going on here? What is this? I asked myself. But she was so sympathique.”
Even her mother Maxime remarked that her daughter could turn rags into a whole new look: “She was the best-dressed woman with a safety pin. She gave Yves confidence by being so enthusiastic,” Maxime continued. “She is never negative, Loulou. She wouldn’t say, ‘Oh I don’t like this sketch.’ She’d say, ‘I like this one better than that.’”
De La Falaise eventually graduated from her role as Saint Laurent’s number-one muse to jewelry designer, creating accessories for the brand that introduced new materials, like leather, cork, ceramic, velvet, and plastic, into jewelry that had only ever saw rhinestones and faux pearls.
“I fell in love with Loulou,” said her husband Thadée Klowssowski de Rola. “But everyone in our group fell in love with Loulou; she was grace itself.”
“Loulou & Yves” is available online now.END
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createdAt:Wed, 25 Apr 2018 21:42:16 +0000