November 7, 2011
Yves Saint Laurent collaborator and famed muse Loulou de la Falaise Klossowski died over the weekend at 63—not that she appreciated the “muse” honorific. “To me a muse comes to have tea and cookies and a chat, and looks frightfully smart, then goes to a cocktail party,” she told a reporter in 2006. “But now that Saint Laurent is part of history, it makes me a part of history, so, yes, finally it’s not such a bad thing to have been a muse.”
The daughter of a French aristocrat and the socialite Maxime de la Falaise (herself a muse, to Schiaparelli), Loulou rose to prominence in swinging-sixties London before meeting the Saint Laurent set in Paris and, in 1972, joining the house officially to work on the Rive Gauche line, which she helped to inspire. “We’d been friends since 1968, and when I went to work for him, no one used the word ‘muse,’” she remembered. “I thought muses were there to lounge about and look beautiful, so I used to laugh when people started to call me [one]—it was such hard work.”
In later years, de la Falaise Klossowski ran her own shops, and, in a move that startled some, sold jewelry on the Home Shopping Network. But she also became the go-to for those seeking the official word the heyday of Saint Laurent. Earlier this year, she artistic-directed Saint Laurent: Rive Gauche, La Révolution de la Mode at the Fondation Pierre Bergé– Yves Saint Laurent.
Photo: Bert Stern / Conde Nast Archives