Loulou de la Falaise was more than just a muse—she created elaborate jewellery with Yves Saint Laurent for decades. Her renowned line has been relaunched by longtime friend Ariel de Ravenel, capturing the eclectic 1970s spirit that was the designer’s signature.
Born in 1948, she was the only daughter of a French count whose brother had married the actresses Gloria Swanson and Constance Bennett, and a socialite mother, Maxime Birley, whose brother founded Annabel’s, the London nightclub and private members’ restaurant.
For three decades, from 1972 and 2002, Loulou de la Falaise was an important member of the team behind Yves Saint Laurent. She had brought to Paris a London ‘It’ girl look that undoubtedly influenced the subsequent creations of Saint Laurent, whom she first met in 1968. Slim, elegant, and of aristocratic descent, De La Falaise had a penchant for trouser suits, brocade pants, and colourful, clanking, chunky jewellery.
She soon found her niche designing jewellery, hats, and other accessories that became as chic and collectable as Saint Laurents’ iconic creations. “Accessories have an important role to play in our stressful lives,” De la Falaise explained. “If you’re going out for dinner and don’t have time to go home and change, you can take your jacket off and add a piece of jewellery to what you’re already wearing. It’s a lot easier than carrying an evening dress on the underground.”
The production of her jewellery designs, which incorporate colourful semi-precious stones, enamel, wood, and rock crystals, was rather labour-intensive and kept a host of small Paris workshops in business for many years. She even designed a line of jewellery to be sold exclusively at the Majorelle Garden in Marrakech, Saint Laurent’s former home in Morocco.
Though Loulou de la Falaise passed away in 2011, through her dearest friend Ariel de Ravenel, her legacy continues with this signature jewellery collection.
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