SF Loves Loulou

Superstar of French fashion, Loulou de la Falaise, makes a rare trip to San Francisco this week, thanks to the brilliant folks at the Academy of Art University.

Loulou’s carefree, bohemian style has inspired designers since the 1970s — most notably Kenzo and Yves Saint Laurent. She began working for Saint Laurent in 1972, and eventually became responsible for designing the house’s accessories, in addition to playing an integral role in the designing of each season’s clothing collection.

Loulou, and husband Thadee, at Le Palace, 1978.

Look at any photo of Saint Laurent in his studio from the ’70s through the ’90s, and you will see Loulou right by him — observing, editing, playing, creating. She was creative as well as psychological support, credited with introducing him to a wide color palette, as well as keeping his spirits up through troubled periods. Without Loulou, it is hard to imagine that YSL would have so dominated fashion through the 1970s and ’80s.

Since 2003, following Saint Laurent’s retirement, Loulou has been on her own, designing a collection of accessories and a small line of clothing, sold exclusively through just a few boutiques around the world. Locally, her collection is available in a Tiburon shop called At Home at Sweet Things.

Her collection has the same kind of refined exuberance that initially captivated people over 30 years ago. She has a masterful way of juxtaposing materials, colors and textures. Her accessories enliven not just an outfit, but one’s whole person.

As the Loulou de la Falaise collection grows, and she emerges from within the shadow of Saint Laurent, it is becoming ever more apparent that she is the most important woman designer in France since Chanel.

Along with New York designer Zac Posen and Washington Post fashion writer Robin Givhan, she will appear in a public symposium at 3 p.m. Thursday at the Academy of Art University’s Morgan Auditorium, and on Friday will receive an honorary degree. There’s a week full of activity planned in the Bay Area to celebrate Loulou’s trip, and SFluxe will do it’s best to keep you all informed of what happens!