Loulou de la Falaise (May 4, 1948, November 5th, 2011) – a symbol of Parisian style and muse of Yves Saint Laurent, sadly passed away this weekend in Boury-en-Vexin, France, a small village northwest of Paris. She was only 63. The cause of her death is unknown but the “Fondation Pierre Bergé – Yves Saint Laurent” issued a press release stating that it is with an immense sorrow (“immense tristesse“) that they are announcing the death of Loulou de la Falaise due to complication from a long illness. Loulou de la Falaise inspired French women for decades with chic designs and accessories they could see on the runaway but also with very practical advices on how to stay feminine and stylish in the dynamic world we live in. In fact, many years ago on French radio, we’ve heard Loulou de la Falaise give three very useful tips to women. She said that women should always have the following three items in their purse:
- Some perfume (du parfum)
- A piece of jewlery (un bijou).
- A scarve (un foulard).
This way if you don’t have time to go home to change, you can still go to a restaurant or other impromptu event and still look and feel fantastic. With these accessories, you will be ready in a flash! These tips are as useful today as they were back then.
“Loulou” as she was tenderly nicknamed was born in May 1948 in England. Her real name is Louise Vava Lucia Henriette Le Bailly de La Falaise – the long name reflects her aristocratic background both on the French side (her father was the French Count Alain Le Bailly de la Falaise) and on her Irish side (her mother was Maxime de la Falaise. daughter of Sir Oswald Birley, who painted portraits for the British royal family – King Georges V, Queen Elizabeth and Elizabeth II). People would often say there was an aristocratic bohemian flair to Loulou to describe her free spirit and vibrant personality. She met Yves Saint Laurent almost 40 years ago and became one of his closest fashion collaborators. She inspired his haute couture lines but also designed jewelries and hats for the prestigious Yves Saint Laurent fashion house. After Yves Saint Laurent retired in 2002, she started her own line and also designed jewelries for the Amercian designer Oscar de La Renta.
Frédéric Mitterrand, Culture & Communication Minister of France, issued a touching statement that described Loulou de la Falaise really well. In his homage, he said:
- French — “Frédéric Mitterrand, ministre de la Culture et de la Communication profondément peiné par l’annonce de la disparition de Loulou de la Falaise, rend hommage à la mémoire d’une des figures les plus marquantes de la mode parisienne. (…) Loulou de la Falaise a mené une vie marquée du sceau de l’élégance, du raffinement et de la beauté. (…) Complice et muse d’Yves Saint Laurent, dont elle partageait les intuitions et les fulgurances, Loulou de la Falaise a placé l’accessoire au coeur du style. (…) Avec Loulou, l’accessoire devenait un geste essentiel, la parure un passage obligé. Elle nous a montré que la mode n’était pas un produit mais un état d’esprit, une création marquée par la légèreté et la fantaisie. “
- English – “It is with deep sorrow that Frédéric Mitterrand, Culture & Communication Minister of France gives homage to the memory of one of the defining personality of Parisian fashion (…). Loulou de la Falaise lead a life sealed with elegance, delicateness, and beauty. (…) Close collaborator and muse of Yves Saint Laurent, with whom she shared the intuitions and brilliance, Loulou de la Falaise placed the fashion accessories at the heart of style. (…) With Loulou, the accessory became an essential touch, jewelry, a must. She showed us that fashion is not a product but a state of mind, a creation marked by lightness and fantasy”