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When Yves Saint Laurent arrived to check out the latest designs of his former muse Loulou de la Falaise on Monday night, the low-key cocktail party at her Rue de Bourgogne boutique practically turned into a press conference for the legendary couturier. A crush of cameras appeared as reporters lobbed questions at will. But Saint Laurent, who retired last year, tried to keep the focus on de la Falaise’s fall ready-to-wear collection, praising her “pretty touch.” Other Saint Laurent faithfuls showed up in force, including Pierre Bergé and Betty Catroux, who were mingling with young models dressed in Highland fling finery. “It’s sort of romantic — and it’s kind of dreamy,” de la Falaise mused about her collection. “The starting point was unicorns, Pegasus and griffins — you know, all of the fairy-tale stuff.”

This story first appeared in the July 9, 2003 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Indeed, there’s something charmed to her clothes, which, though classic and proper, have just the right irreverent twists to set them apart. A pleated tartan skirt, for example, was short enough to be sexy, and a puffy brocade skirt paired with a flimsy chiffon tank was fresh and pretty. De la Falaise spiced up the mix with voluminous fur coats and easy cable-knit sweaters. Of course, the designer — who used to create jewelry and bags for Saint Laurent — is a whiz with accessories, and it shows in pieces ranging from the furry fox shoulder purse to fetching ruby, jasper and amethyst necklaces.

Curious American retailers showed up in force and said they’re eager to see de la Falaise start wholesaling. “I thought the clothes had so much individual style,” said Robert Burke, vice president and senior fashion director of Bergdorf Goodman. “More and more, there’s a woman who wants to wear a label that’s exclusive.”

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