EYE CANDY

The Ever Stylish Loulou de la Falaise Was Far More Than Just Yves Saint Laurent’s Muse

Loulou de la Falaise photographed by Jean-Pierre Masclet
Photo by Jean-Pierre Masclet.

There was never a shortage of waifish muses wandering through Paris in the ’60s and ’70s, but Loulou de la Falaise always stood apart from the rest. Even when she was in her 50s, The New Yorker declared her to have “always been the quintessential Rive Gauche haute bohémienne.” Born Louise Vava Lucia Henriette Le Bailly de La Falaise, in England, to a count and a former model—the latter of whom the photographer Cecil Beaton famously said was the only English woman he knew who could be “really chic in really hideous clothes”—de la Falaise was part of high society. But she was also always a hard worker. After becoming a model, designer, and editor in New York, which led her to meet Yves Saint Laurent, she moved to Paris in the early ’70s to join the YSL couture team and become director of accessories. Along the way, she became a core member of his original party-hard crew. And though she passed away in 2011, de la Falaise has hardly been forgotten; she’s in fact now the subject of Loulou & Yves: The Untold Story of Loulou de La Falaise and the House of Saint Laurent, a new oral history written and compiled by Christopher Petkanas, who knew de la Falaise in the ’80s, and reunited with her in 2010, the year before her death at just 63. Featuring 150 original interviews, the book fleshes out how much more there was to de la Falaise than simply being Saint Laurent’s muse. Here, a look back at her inimitable style throughout the years.

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Loulou de la Falaise in Vogue, 1970. Photographed by Bert Stern.

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Betty Catroux, Yves Saint Laurent, and Loulou de la Falaise outside of Saint Laurent’s Rive Gauche shop, 1969.

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Loulou & Yves. © The Estate of Antonio Lopez and Juan Ramos and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Press

Loulou de la Falaise in “Antonio’s Guide to Paris,” 1975. Photographed by Antonio Lopez with an Instamatic.

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Loulou & Yves. Photo credits © 2018 and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Press

Loulou de la Falaise, Yves Saint Laurent, and Betty Catroux at a party, 1978.

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Loulou de la Falaise. Photographed by Guy Marineau.

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Hure Jean Luce

Loulou de la Falaise with Marina Schiano in front of the Yves Saint Laurent Couture House in Paris, 1969. Photographed by Hure Jean Luce.

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Loulou & Yves. Photo credits © 2018 by Guy Marineau and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Press

Yves Saint Laurent and Loulou de la Falaise backstage, 1982. Photographed by Guy Marineau.

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Photo by Jean-Pierre Masclet.

Loulou de la Falaise. Photographed by Jean-Pierre Masclet.

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Loulou de la Falaise gardening. Photographed by Jean-Francois Jaussaud.

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Jack Nisberg/Roger-Viollet

Yves Saint Laurent, Louise de la Falaise, François Catroux, and Betty Catroux at a restaurant, 1970. Photographed by Jack Nisberg/Roger-Viollet.

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Loulou & Yves. Photo credits © 2018 by Mariou Buatta and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Press

Loulou de la Falaise, circa 1968. Photographed by Mario Buatta.

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John Kenny

Loulou de La Falaise in Paris, 1984. Photographed by John Kenny.

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Rindoff Petroff Bertrand

Loulou de la Falaise and Yves Saint Laurent, 1978. Photographed by Rindoff Petroff Bertrand.