Thursday, August 28, 2008

Always In Style - Loulou de la Falaise

I'm up early this morning, watching the weather news. Gustavo seems to be turning a little away, but that doesn't mean anything yet. Jittery and flipping channels, I found Loulou de Falaise this morning on television.Bonjour Loulou! Fashion icon. Former model. Muse, BFF, and business associate of Yves St. Laurent. An original woman with impeccable style. Designer. Wife and ex wife. Mother. French. Titled family.She has parlayed her personal style into various collections of accessories that one can find here and there at special boutiques. She presents the epitome of French style, the perfect mix of the bohemian with the lady.

She met Yves St. Laurent in the late 1960's. She was introduced to him by a mutual friend, and she said that they just clicked from the start. This very well known and widely published photo shows her and Yves with fellow model Betty Catroux in 1969 when Yves opened his Rive Gauche boutique in Paris. Loulou was already piling on the accessories in her own wardrobe, with a signature personal style...
...which was translated into accessories for YSL collections from 1970 until she retired from his firm in 2003. It was then that she started her own line. She and Yves remained life long friends until his death this past year.
A total free spirit, as we all were at that time. This photo might not happen in today's climate of "political correctness", but back then we all experimented. And yes I have some photos of myself in the same vein. After all I made spending money as an artist model while I was in art school. Loulou has been said to have been the inspiration behind the tuxedo for women and see through blouses, that YSL designed, and a style that we all copied and wore.
We loved bohemian culture, whether it being a broke ass art school girl making caftans out of Indian bedspreads, and piling on the bangles and beads, or being from the privileged classes such as Lee Radziwell, who is sitting in her circa 1970 room completely covered in haute Indian bed spread fabric.
However, nudity and bohemian life has been going on among artists and free spirits since the beginning of time. Henri Matisse loved to mix pattern, and the reclining naked or semi nude woman, the odalisque, couldn't be a more classic image.
Loulou has been living in the same Paris flat (as she calls it) for the past thirty years. She says her street has changed very little in that time, and in fact, Paris itself changes very little. I think Paris always remains fabulous.
High style and bohemian furnishing collide and mix in the most delightful way in her Paris apartment. I love the grand chandelier juxtaposed with the more humble things (like the radiator).

Her bathroom is fantastic, a mix of mosaic and color and mirror that conjure up Morocco.
She's always collected vast amounts of jewelry, and I love how it's displayed - the colors against the blue tiles looks so painterly.
She decorates her home by layering smalls, that really become the jewelry for the body of her home.

Now dear Loulou is moving onto to her later years. She's 62. She still looks great. Slim and willowy. Her new chapter in life has her moving onto another business venture. This past Spring, she started selling a new line she has designed for Home Shopping Network (HSN).
So this morning, while I was flipping channels, I came across Loulou hawking her wares. It's odd. She has so much class and breeding and talent, and here she is on HSN. She seems a little disconnected and displaced. Is it any wonder? The rah- rah HSN girl host had so much excess nervous energy trying to compensate for Loulou's inability to rise to the chore of being an American pitchman (woman). Loulou has a high voice, a little wavery like a sweet old lady, with a continental accent, with a soft British undertone. I was mesmerized.
The merchandise is a diluted version of the great de la Falaise style. Lots of haute hippie jewelry, scarves, long poncho type shawls, flowing pants, long sweaters, ruffle trimmed sweaters, cute shoes, luxe looking hand bags... The palette is as pale and wispy as Loulou herself is. Her fashion advice is timeless: Pair the basics with great accessories. She has a few British references in her work, like the fox, and the wolf logo she uses. After all she was married to a Brit, Desmond FitGerald, 29th Knight of Glin.
I really like the collection of 9 bangles - 9 is a lucky number for Loulou. I also love the little bootie. Loulou was wearing the poncho, with a pair of calf hair ballet flats in this fuscia, a pair of black flowing pants, a black sweater trimmed in the fuscia, the bangles, and a a few necklaces, all from her HSN collection. On her it looked ravishing. The HSN models and host looked like horses in costumes - they just don't have the elan to work it.
You can get this terrific calf hair purse and all the other things at HSN HERE

Photo research: Thanks to This Is Glamorous, Style Court, The Daily Mail, and HSN


katiedid said...

Very nice profile on a very stylish lady. Wonderful post.

Dianne said...

Great post!!!!! Are you kin to Joni? LOL

vicki archer said...

She is one very chic woman. It is one thing to be stylish and beautiful at twenty but completely genius to pull it off at sixty two - bravo LouLou de la Falaise.

The House of Beauty and Culture said...

Mme de la Falaise is also half English. Here mother, Maxime Comtesse de la Falaise (a former model, writer, and designer) was the sister of Mark Birley, he of Annabel's fame.
It's in the genes.

Visual Vamp said...

Amen sister Vicki!
And dear Dianne, I wish I was kin to Joni! All I can claim is the Sisterhood of The Traveling Blogs LOL.

Toby Worthington said...

VV, If you care to see Loulou in what was her genuine milieu,get hold of the documentary film called
5 Avenue Montaigne, which chronicles the last collection of Yves St Laurent. Not the typical runway stuff but the actual process of design and construction, discussion, appraisal, critique. And Loulou is very much part of that atelier, composed, quietly witty, encouraging to YSL in the most subtle manner. Hard not to fall in love with her.

Fifi Flowers said...

Thanks for visiting me... glad you liked my Picasso... I liked one of your photos here and captured it in a painting... come by and take a peek!
Hope you are safe!

Here, There, Elsewhere... and more said...

Waouh! J'adore..:)