I saw her getting out of a cab one day on 7th Ave and couldn't help but go up to her. Gushing like a school boy, I told her how cool I thought she was and how much I admired her hard work at YSL for so many years and complimented her on her own work. I told her what an inspiration she was to so many people who worked in fashion and those of us who just had a passion for it and how much her sense of style had helped to reshape the way we dress and look at fashion.
She was so gracious and natural not trying to silence my flood of words or edge away. Loulou de la Falaise was probably used to being assaulted by fans. God knows she'd been at the epicenter of fashion history in the making from the moment she joined Yves Saint Laurent's team. Beyond her creation of the jewelry, which became synonymous with the look of YSL, Loulou was a force behind the styling that we've all come to know as the look of YSL. She inspired the master and worked tirelessly at his side. When Yves suffered from mental and physical exhaustion, Loulou and the team helped to keep the collections coming. What resonates with me is her belief in and loyalty towards her friend. Her commitment to YSL went way beyond that of a dedicated employee. She believed as much as he in the importance of his vision.
Just last week in Qatar I met a man, Monsieur Thierry Thomas, who'd been the Premier d'Atelier in tailleur and flou at YSL the last 22 years of Yves' reign. He came to hear my lecture and introduced himself at the end. We sat talking late into the night as he told me of his years at YSL. He told me how Loulou de la Falaise was largely responsible for his getting the position, the youngest Premier d'Atelier in the house's history. I sat there in a state of awe as he relived those heady years working together with Yves and his inner circle. He shared amazing stories about the preparation of many Haute Couture and Pret a Porter collections as well as the fittings he had with many of the couture clients. That conversation was beyond thrilling and gave me the tiniest inkling of what the atmosphere must have been like.
Another great light has been dimmed with her passing. What a fantastic life she lived. She was a great lady and a designer of immense talent.
On the Street…The Fortezza, Florence
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