Loulou De La Falaise: A True Saint Laurent Woman
By Bernie Rothschild
This morning fashion icon Loulou de la Falaise is dead which is very sad news to all of us, Loulou was a devoted friend and muse to Yves Saint Laurent. She inspired many of his collections which is very scandalous but artistic at the same time. As she tells their story, “I met Yves through mutual friends. We had lots of fun together, and he must have liked what I did with clothes because one day he asked me to work with him." Loulou was also a noted jewelry designer and the head of accessories for the Rive Gauche line. She was the antithesis of her fellow YSL muse and close friend Betty Catroux. The two women embodied and influenced the French fashion of their time. The très risque androgynous hedonist style of the trousers wearer, Ms. Catroux, is the exact opposite of the elegant, chic, and glamorous Ms. de la Falaise. But for many that are still wondering who this fabulous woman really is, here is the story for you. Loulou was born in England to socialite Maxime Birley who was an Elsa Schiaparelli model and a noted fashionista of her time. According to Cecil Beaton, Ms. Birley was the only English woman who had a great fashion sense that he knew and her father was the aristocrat Alain de la Falaise. She was related to many known artists of the 19th century, no wonder artistic lineage is born into family. During the early 70s, she was discovered by the legendary Vogue editor Diana Vreeland as a model at which point she moved to New York City and became part of the in crowd, epitomizing the fashionable chic woman of the 1970s, together with her great friends the Berenson sisters, the divine Marisa Berenson and her former roommate the late Berry Berenson, Paloma Picasso, Marina Schiano, Elsa Peretti, Bianca Jagger, and Diane Von Furstenberg, that astonished the crowd with their effortless chic and unique style. Who would forget her special custom made YSL dress at the Opium launch party and her Oriental wedding theme for which Saint Laurent created her Aladdin inspired wedding dress. The life of Ms. de la Falaise is a great inspiration to all of us. She proved that everyone could be a muse in their own way. Rest in peace, Loulou. Thanks for the legacy that you left us.
Loulou de la Falaise photographs courtesy of Condé Nast, Sugar Inc., zero1magazine.com, puretrend.com