“The ideal mix for a party is the very rich, the very poor, writers, painters, voyeurs and exhibitionists. And some famous names of course.” With the death of Loulou de la Falaise has the last of the great muses passed? A true fashion aristocrat, no one epitomized the glamour and chic of Yves St Laurent’s world in the ‘70s and ‘80s than this daughter of the Count and Countess Alain de la Falaise, later the Marquis de la Coudraye. Her Anglo-Irish mother, Maxime, underground film actress and Schiaparelli muse, was the model Cecil Beaton described as the “the only truly chic Englishwoman.” Rumour was that she was baptised with Shiaparelli’s perfume ‘Shocking’ instead of holy water – whatever the truth Loulou would grow up to be feted as ‘the quintessential Rive Gauche haute bohemienne.’ Basically, no one was as classy and cool.
She’d met Yves St Laurent in the late ’60s and it was said that it was her one-of-a-kind style that was the inspiration for his 1966 ‘Le Smoking;’ the look that smashed fashion definitions and inspired an androgynous style that swept through the rest of the century and is still alive and kicking well into this one. And from the early ‘70s she was the fulcrum of his couture company, working specifically on the jewellery and accessories (her style was chunky, clunky and colourful) as well as inspiring YSL with her day-to-day wardrobe. And that could have been anything from her innate exotic Gypsy jet set style, to something more Marlene Dietrich. But it’s a hard life being 24 hour fabulous. “For me, a muse is someone who looks glamorous but is quite passive,” she once said, “whereas I was very hard-working. I worked from 9am to sometimes 9pm. I certainly wasn’t passive.” Au revoir Loulou.
Contributing Editor: Richard Dennen