PARIS — Liliane Bettencourt has reportedly given photographer François-Marie Banier gifts of some 1 billion euros, or $1.36 billion at current exchange, causing her daughter, Françoise Bettencourt Meyers, to lodge a complaint earlier this year.
According to press reports here, Bettencourt, the 86-year-old daughter of L’Oréal’s founder, Eugene Schueller, who holds a 30 percent stake in the French beauty giant and is considered to be the wealthiest woman in France, has given Banier close to 1 billion euros in the form of financial investments and artwork over the years (with the tempo of gift-giving ramping up recently).
In response, Bettencourt Meyers is said to have lodged a complaint for “exploitation of weakness” in the public prosecutor’s office of Nanterre, a Paris suburb, which kicked off a preliminary inquiry.
Banier, who recently photographed Diane von Furstenberg’s advertising campaign featuring Natalia Vodianova and whose roster of star-studded friends has included Yves Saint Laurent, Pierre Cardin, Isabelle Adjani, Princess Caroline of Monaco, Johnny Depp, Vanessa Paradis, Lauren Bacall and Catherine Deneuve — among others — could not be reached for comment. Neither could Bettencourt Meyer’s lawyer, Olivier Metzner, nor the public prosecutor of Nanterre, Philippe Courroye, be reached.
Bettencourt and Banier have long been friends. In March 2004, for instance, she attended his first American show, at the Bass Museum in Miami Beach, which L’Oréal sponsored.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast