Sunday, 6 November 2011

Last-Year Girl: Loulou de la Falaise

One of my favourite books I've read recently has got to be Alicia Drake's The Beautiful Fall which charts the alternate paths of Yves Saint Laurent and Karl Lagerfeld in 1970s Paris. It was with great sadness that I learnt Loulou de la Falaise has recently died. As Saint Laurent's muse, Loulou is one of the major, and one of the most likeable, figures in this book.

With Saint Laurent, and his other muse, the fabulous Betty Catroux (who Saint Laurent apparently saw as the female version of himself) at the opening of the Rive Gauche boutique in London.

The daughter of an Anglo-Irish fashion model and a French marquis (of course!) the book credits her with bringing some of the freedom of swinging London to Paris. She comes across well in the book, a bundle of energy, and far from the passivity you might associate with the term 'muse'. In fact she says of that term - in an interview with the Metro of all unlikely places - "I used to get very irritated by that term. For me, a muse is someone who looks glamorous but is quite passive, whereas I was very hard-working. I worked from 9am to sometimes 9pm, or even 2am ... Now that it’s all over, I like to think there’s a bit of my soul in the clothes that were designed when I was there because I was supposed to be a source of inspiration."

Her style seems effortless: piled on jewellery, turbans, men's suits - apparently she was the inspiration behind Le Smoking.

At her wedding party. The woman with her back to the camera is Bianca Jagger.
via Anna Lee

One of my favourite descriptions of her in the book is of her wedding to Thadee Klosswoski in 1977. For day, she wears a white Yves Saint Laurent suit with turban, for night she changes into the dazzling number shown above. The moon headdress is something she made in hours before the actual wedding, in typical de la Falaise spirit. Again in the Metro, she says her style is based on "whim, fantasy. Finding a feather in the park and putting it in a headband and thinking: ‘I’ll go for something Robin Hood-ish.’ Sometimes one element pushes things over the top and you invent something." As well as producing accessories for  Saint Laurent, Loulou applied her style to her own jewellery line. 

"To find inspiration in everything can become automatic if you allow that little machine in your head to work" she said in a Daily Mail feature about her apartment (to find inspiration from another unlikely place).

Strong, sexy, and oh so stylish, Loulou we'll miss you.

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