Designer and muse Loulou de la Falaise dies

Monday, 07 November 2011
Loulou de la Falaise, the British-born designer and Yves Saint Laurent-muse, died Saturday in Paris at the age of 63.

Ms. de la Falaise was synonymous with the bohemian Left Bank world of Saint Laurent, and was a part of his 1970s-era entourage, noted the Herald Tribune, whether it touched down for the weekend in Marrakesh or New York.

Ms. de la Falaise was a mixture of French chic and English nonchalance. She was born in England, the daughter of Maxime Birley and Alain de la Falaise, a French count. She began working for Saint Laurent around 1972, designing accessories, but her influence went beyond the chunky bracelets and necklaces that helped establish the YSL look. She remained with the house until around 2000, after the sale of the brand’s ready-to-wear and perfume operations to Gucci Group. Saint Laurent retired in 2002.

That same year she started her own ready-to-wear line, which she sold in two Loulou de la Falaise shops in Paris and also to stores like Bergdorf Goodman. 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.

“I’m consistent in my tastes,” Ms. de la Falaise told the Herald Tribune a few years ago. “I like bright, multihued fabrics and colors. Anything can inspire me, whether it’s a journey or a crack in a wall. Sometimes I can even transform an undesirable object into a desirable one.”