Hedi Slimane’s retro YSL muses

Betty Catroux and Loulou de La Falaise

One of the strong points of Hedi Slimane’s new-look house of Saint Laurent is the gorgeously covetable handbags, from clutches to cases, each one an instant classic.

During the Saint Laurent press day in London this week, the brands’ reps showed ELLE the collection and explained that the two of the bags are named after the famous Yves Saint Laurent muses of the designer’s Seventies heyday, Betty Catroux and Loulou de La Falaise.

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Loulou, or Louise Vava Lucia Henriette Le Bailly de La Falaise who died a year ago this month, was born into a family of French, English and Irish aristocrats, destined for fashion at a young age. She moved to Manhattan in the late 1960’s where she met a dashing young fashion designer called Yves Saint Laurent in 1968.

The pair recognised at once that they were kindred spirits. Yves insisted on dressing her and lavished Loulou with gifts of his designs. In 1972 invited her to come and work alongside him. Her department was creating the eye catching statement jewellery and hats for him; their creative collaboration endured for three decades.

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Model and muse Betty Catroux once described her first meeting with Yves as being ‘in a very very gay nightclub’ during the 1960’s. She was another of his muses as well as a partying partner.After his death, she said ‘I had a fairytale life with him’

Tall and blonde with endless legs, Betty became the emblem of YSL Rive Gauche. She attended Hedi Slimane’s inaugural collection for the brand last month, to which by all accounts, she has given her stamp of approval.

Watch the video of the Spring Summer 2013 collection here

See all the best accessories from Spring Summer 2013

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