PARIS — Catherine Rousso, a longstanding figure on the fashion scene here, died on Thursday from a long illness at the age of 70, confirmed Sophie Fontanel, a former Elle France editor in chief for fashion.
Rousso has been credited with helping build the careers of stylists, and designers including Christian Lacroix and Thierry Mugler.
“She was very small physically, but in reality this small woman was a very big fashion talent – as we say in French — a ‘grande dame de la mode,'” said Jean-Jacques Picart, a Paris-based industry consultant.
Rousso rose through the ranks of Elle France, where she became editor in chief for fashion from 1997 to 2010.
“She was full of joy and energy,” said Valérie Toranian, former editorial director of Elle France. “She was always up to go to the next runway show.”
“I was very fortunate to be initiated into fashion by her. She knew all the designers — Jean Paul Gaultier, Karl Lagerfeld, Sonia Rykiel among others. She worked closely with Fouli Elia when he was overseeing the photo department at Elle,” she continued.
Toranian recalled Rousso being always “dressed up to the nines, sporting Marni and her signature keeper earrings and lipstick.”
A tribute to Rousso is scheduled for Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. CET at Paris’ Palais Galliera. A funeral is expected in Tel Aviv, but no date could be immediately learned.
She is survived by a daughter, Clara, and four grandchildren.
“I first met her when I arrived in Paris. She was at Printemps. She used to buy a lot of my sketches. She really helped me. While at Elle, she did 10 pages on me and Chantal Thomass in 1971. Gilles Bensimon was the photographer. She was exceptional,” said Kenzo Takada.