Betty Catroux and Anthony Vaccarello

THE YSL OG: “It’s not to me you should be saying ‘bravo’ but to Anthony [Vaccarello],” said Betty Catroux as guests applauded as she arrived at the opening of “Betty Catroux, Yves Saint Laurent, Feminine Singular” on Thursday night.

Charlotte Casiraghi, Rami Malek, Rick Owens and Michèle Lamy spent long moments perusing photographs that captured a pair that looked so alive that they made these snapshots seem like they’d been taken yesterday.

Charlotte Gainsbourg was touched by a picture of her mother Jane Birkin and Catroux. “They’re having fun in a magazine and it’s funny that Anthony chose this,” she said. “Before being a muse or an inspiration, she inspired Yves Saint Laurent by her real nature. We feel the friendship they shared. As a creative, I need [that kind of connection]. When I have an inspiration, something that attracts me, I need it to answer a conversation with someone who will be just as engaged on a topic that fits us. I wouldn’t be comfortable in an office, inventing something alone. I’m lucky with Anthony in that regard.”

Charlotte Gainsbourg

Charlotte Gainsbourg  Courtesy Photo

Just as moving were the note that read “Pour la remercier d’exister” (“to thank her for existing”) and the series of maritime landscapes the late couturier created for his muse in one night. “It’s a simple but surprising story: a simple meeting that became the story of a lifetime,” said Jean-Pierre Blanc, director of the International Festival of Fashion and Photography in Hyères.

Rami Malek

Rami Malek  Courtesy Photo

Others took time to explore the groups of silhouettes, from the safari jacket to the Smoking. Vintage dealer Didier Ludot appraised the displays with the collector’s eye, taking in the details of a fringed leather coat from the fall 1980 Saint Laurent Rive Gauche collection that wouldn’t look amiss four decades later on the 2020 runways.

Upstairs, guests ooh’ed and aah’ed at the Loïc Prigent film that captured a conversation between the incumbent artistic director of Saint Laurent, and the house’s constant muse as they looked through her donations. “I learned that you should always take the prototype,” Catroux said in the film. As the exhibition showed, the OG fashion muse — “the” woman, as sculptor and face of the Y perfume David Alexander Flinn said — was, is and will remain Betty Catroux.

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