Loulou de la Falaise, bast known as the muse of Mr. Yves Saint Laurent for over 30 years, died Saturday In Paris of a “long illness”. To help understand their relationship, think of what Edie Sedgewick was to Andy Warhol, just less tragic. But she was much more than a muse to Mr. Laurent, and in fact thought the term a bit derogative, not at all indicative of the arduous work she preformed over the years as an accessory and jewelry designer for Yves Saint Laurent.
Loulou, who was born in England to Maxime Birley, an english model and socialite, and Alain de la Falaise , a french count, met Yves in the mid 1960s. He was instantly intrigued by her radiant beauty, style, slim figure and personality, their relationship growing to the point where they became inseparable. Mr. Laurent thought her enormously chic and recognized her inimitable flare for combining colors, adoring the touches of exoticism she infused into her designs for him.
De la Falaise, whose style was “truly original” and who inspired countless others, described her style as ” 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.”
She remained with the house of Laurent until around 2000, after the sale of the brand’s ready-to-wear and perfume operations to Gucci Group. Following Yves St. Laurent’s retirement from fashion in 2002, she launched a signature label, which she sold in two Loulou de la Falaise shops in Paris and also to stores like BergdorfGoodman. The clothing line captured much of her rare taste — well-cut blazers in the best English tweeds, French sailor pants in linen, striped silk blouses with cheeky black lace edging, masculine walking coats with fur linings, and gorgeous knits in perfectly chosen colors. She eventually reduced that business to a single shop, on Rue Cambon in Paris, though she continued to make her jewelry for other shops and customers.
She will be missed.