Lessons in Glamour Part 1: Loulou de la Falaise

Posted on April 22, 2016

 

She was one of Yves Saint Laurent’s glitziest entourage members and his lifelong collaborator. The late Loulou de la Falaise was a walking, giggling embodiment of real style.

Every woman should want their life to be like the one Loulou de la Falaise so fearlessly led. Her story has the hallmarks of a fairytale, leaving a less than desireable childhood behind after being scouted in 1970 by then editor of US Vogue, Diana Vreeland, widely known for her prowess in uncovering the movers and shakers of the Factory Girl era. After several years bouncing about with Andy Warhol’s crowd and designing fabric for Halston, Loulou was introduced to Yves Saint Laurent in 1972. As an indispensable part of Yves Saint Laurent’s creative team, Loulou inspired Yves to capture the bohemian spirit of the times, and in doing so, changed the way women wanted to look for decades.

Her work as designer of jewelry to accompany Yves' Ready-to-Wear collections resonates just as much as evidence of her spontaneity, caring nature and cultural intelligence does. Loulou’s work for the fashion house is iconic of its own accord. Her designs have always been first equal with Christian Lacroix for us when we embark on buying trips each year. From oversized agate and gold cuffs with reassuring weight to the often copied Arty ring, a linchpin of YSL’s costume jewelry heritage, we adore it all.

In honour of Queen Loulou, below we’ve presented, in no particular order, some words of wisdom. Who best to learn from than a woman who travelled the world, ate up the culture wherever she went, played hard, but most importantly worked even harder, and in later years donned the hats of both mother and wife. A true asset to fashion and womanhood.

"I don't like black. You wear black when you're miserable."
Queen Loulou’s outfits were an exercise in visual therapy. Colour was her comrade in being resolutely chic, and most essentially, up beat. Unlike Betty Catroux, a fellow muse to Yves, darkness never entered her wardrobe. She’s our go-to vision for when the easiest option always seems to be black.

  • Don’t be afraid to go large with jewelry.
  • Chunky necklaces and bejewelled cuffs were Loulou’s personal style signature. She didn’t believe in toning down the rest of an outfit to give loud pieces breathing room, she simply wore what intuitively looked chic. Further proof that there are no rules.

  • Self-preservation and inner strength are tools to cultivate over one’s entire life. Loulou could have been beaten down by the Paris party circuit like many were within YSL’s infamous clique, but she wasn't, and was famously present at the atelier despite how late the night before went.  

  •  
    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. I certainly wasn't passive.”


  • Confidence is a prerequisite for true style.
  • Something to note in 2016 where individual style is often quashed for the sake of mass popularity. Loulou is a reminder that fashion can uplift especially when you dress for yourself and not for others approval. The way she dressed was unapologetic. When YSL’s richly coloured coats were panned by media, she blithely danced about Paris wearing them. The woman was proud of her friend’s creations and owned the look in the process. Acts like these cemented her as a leader, not a follower. In a 2002 New Yorker article about Yves, writer Judith Thurman called Loulou “the quintessential Rive Gauche haute bohémienne.”

  • There’s power in the unstudied.
  • Loulou insisted her outfits were never thoroughly thought through, cue a sigh of relief from us all. She’s taught us about the power of spontaneity and perhaps most importantly, is fierce encouragement to make light of modern tendencies for a tightly edited or minimalist wardrobe. The energy and love she reportedly exuded was in stark contrast to Yves, especially during his later years. We’ve often wondered how the colour and festivity of his designs could come from a man so plagued by manic depression and addiction. It all makes sense with the bohemian Loulou at his side.

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