Loulou & Yves: The Untold Story of Loulou de La Falaise and the House of Saint Laurent

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No one interested in fashion, style, or the high-flying intrigues of café society will want to miss Christopher Petkanas’s exuberantly entertaining oral biography Loulou & Yves: The Untold Story of Loulou de La Falaise and the House of Saint Laurent.

Dauntless, “in the bone” style made Loulou de La Falaise one of the great fashion firebrands of the twentieth century. Descending in a direct line from Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli, she was celebrated at her death in 2011, aged just sixty-four, as the “highest of haute bohemia,” a feckless adventuress in the art of living—and the one person Yves Saint Laurent could not live without.

Yves was the most influential designer of his times; possibly also the most neurasthenic. In an exquisitely intimate, sometimes painful personal and professional relationship, Loulou was his creative right hand, muse, alter ego and the virtuoso behind all the flamboyant accessories that were a crucial component of the YSL “look.” For thirty years, until his retirement in 2002, Yves relied on Loulou to inspire him, make him laugh and talk him off the ledge—the enchanted formula that brought him from one historic collection to the next.

Yves’s many tributes shape Loulou’s memory, as if everything there was to know about this fugitive, Giacometti-like figure could be told by her clanking bronze cuffs, towering fur toques, the turquoise boulders on her fingers and her working friendship with the man who put women in pants. But another, darker story lifts the veil on Loulou, a classic “number two” with a contempt for convention, and exposes the underbelly of fashion at its highest level. Behind Yves’s encomiums are a pair of aristocrat parents—Loulou’s shiftless French father and menacingly chic English mother—who abandoned her to a childhood of foster care and sexual abuse; Loulou’s recurring desperation to leave Yves and go out on her own; and the grandiose myths surrounding her family. Loulou felt that her life had been kidnapped by the operatic workings of the House of Saint Laurent, and in her last years faced financial ruin. Loulou & Yves unspools an elusive fashion idol—nymphomaniacal, heedless and up to her bracelets in coke and Boizel champagne—at the core of what used to be called “le beau monde.”

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About the author

CHRISTOPHER PETKANAS covered Loulou de La Falaise and the House of Saint Laurent from 1982 to 1988 while living in Paris, picking up with Loulou again more than two decades later, in 2010, the year before she died. He has written for The New York Times, Vogue, and Architectural Digest, and his previous books are At Home in France: Eating and Entertaining with the French, and Parish-Hadley: Sixty Years of American Design (with Sister Parish and Albert Hadley). He resides in New York City.
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Additional Information

Publisher
St. Martin's Press
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Published on
Apr 17, 2018
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Pages
512
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ISBN
9781250161420
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Fashion
Biography & Autobiography / Women
Business & Economics / Industries / Fashion & Textile Industry
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Coco Chanel is best known for her contributions to the design and fashion industry. The famous French designer is believed to be the inventor of the little black dress and for instigating the notion that tanned skin is beautiful. Her designs changed the way we approached the female form, and Hollywood stars would fly her from Paris to Los Angeles just to have a red carpet dress designed. While introducing the world to radical fashion industry transformations, she spent most of her time socializing with the Elite of Parisian and British society.

As we know her today, Coco Chanel is the French goddess who has bestowed us with perfumes, designs and the legendary Chanel Suit. Her public statements are often quote by those in the fashion industry who place emphasis on elegance, and those in the business world who strive to succeed. Her designs continue to sell today, and she now has a well-established line of beauty and perfume products. Ever the intellectual, her modernist thoughts have gained her worldwide recognition, even after her death in 1971.

Although Coco is best known to us for re-inventing style, her life has not been without its controversies. Far from being a mere woman of elegance, Chanel has a hidden past. By digging beneath the surface, it is clear to see she was just as well known for her drug addiction, affairs with members of the British elite and allegiance with anti-Semitic Nazis. On several occasions she evaded facing international war trials, thanks to her connections in high places.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

- Introduction

- Coco Chanel's Background

- Coco Chanel's Major Accomplishments and Awards

- Coco Chanel's Personal Life

- Coco Chanel Recently in the Media

- Public Statements Made by Coco Chanel

- Facts About Coco Chanel

- Conclusion

- Sources and Additional Reading

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Their approach to fashion was wildly different—Galliano began as an illustrator, McQueen as a Savile Row tailor. Galliano led the way with his sensual bias-cut gowns and his voluptuous hourglass tailoring, which he presented in romantic storybook-like settings. McQueen, though nearly ten years younger than Galliano, was a brilliant technician and a visionary artist who brought a new reality to fashion, as well as an otherworldly beauty. For his first official collection at the tender age of twenty-three, McQueen did what few in fashion ever achieve: he invented a new silhouette, the Bumster.

They had similar backgrounds: sensitive, shy gay men raised in tough London neighborhoods, their love of fashion nurtured by their doting mothers. Both struggled to get their businesses off the ground, despite early critical success. But by 1997, each had landed a job as creative director for couture houses owned by French tycoon Bernard Arnault, chairman of LVMH.
 
Galliano’s and McQueen’s work for Dior and Givenchy and beyond not only influenced fashion; their distinct styles were also reflected across the media landscape. With their help, luxury fashion evolved from a clutch of small, family-owned businesses into a $280 billion-a-year global corporate industry. Executives pushed the designers to meet increasingly rapid deadlines. For both Galliano and McQueen, the pace was unsustainable. In 2010, McQueen took his own life three weeks before his womens' wear show.

The same week that Galliano was fired, Forbes named Arnault the fourth richest man in the world. Two months later, Kate Middleton wore a McQueen wedding gown, instantly making the house the world’s most famous fashion brand, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art opened a wildly successful McQueen retrospective, cosponsored by the corporate owners of the McQueen brand. The corporations had won and the artists had lost.

In her groundbreaking work Gods and Kings, acclaimed journalist Dana Thomas tells the true story of McQueen and Galliano. In so doing, she reveals the revolution in high fashion in the last two decades—and the price it demanded of the very ones who saved it.
Until recently, Elizabeth Cline was a typical American consumer. She’d grown accustomed to shopping at outlet malls, discount stores like T.J. Maxx, and cheap but trendy retailers like Forever 21, Target, and H&M. She was buying a new item of clothing almost every week (the national average is sixty-four per year) but all she had to show for it was a closet and countless storage bins packed full of low-quality fads she barely wore—including the same sailor-stripe tops and fleece hoodies as a million other shoppers. When she found herself lugging home seven pairs of identical canvas flats from Kmart (a steal at $7 per pair, marked down from $15!), she realized that something was deeply wrong.


Cheap fashion has fundamentally changed the way most Americans dress. Stores ranging from discounters like Target to traditional chains like JCPenney now offer the newest trends at unprecedentedly low prices. Retailers are pro­ducing clothes at enormous volumes in order to drive prices down and profits up, and they’ve turned clothing into a disposable good. After all, we have little reason to keep wearing and repairing the clothes we already own when styles change so fast and it’s cheaper to just buy more.


But what are we doing with all these cheap clothes? And more important, what are they doing to us, our society, our environment, and our economic well-being?


In Overdressed, Cline sets out to uncover the true nature of the cheap fashion juggernaut, tracing the rise of budget clothing chains, the death of middle-market and independent retail­ers, and the roots of our obsession with deals and steals. She travels to cheap-chic factories in China, follows the fashion industry as it chases even lower costs into Bangladesh, and looks at the impact (both here and abroad) of America’s drastic increase in imports. She even explores how cheap fashion harms the charity thrift shops and textile recyclers where our masses of cloth­ing castoffs end up.


Sewing, once a life skill for American women and a pathway from poverty to the middle class for workers, is now a dead-end sweatshop job. The pressures of cheap have forced retailers to drastically reduce detail and craftsmanship, making the clothes we wear more and more uniform, basic, and low quality. Creative inde­pendent designers struggle to produce good and sustainable clothes at affordable prices.


Cline shows how consumers can break the buy-and-toss cycle by supporting innovative and stylish sustainable designers and retailers, refash­ioning clothes throughout their lifetimes, and mending and even making clothes themselves.


Overdressed will inspire you to vote with your dollars and find a path back to being well dressed and feeling good about what you wear.

The instant New York Times bestseller 

Supermodel and philanthropist Gisele Bündchen shares personal stories, insights, and photos to explore lessons that have helped shape her life.

Gisele Bündchen's journey began in southern Brazil, growing up with five sisters, playing volleyball, and rescuing the dogs and cats around her hometown.  In fact, she wanted to become either a professional volley player or a veterinarian. But at the age of 14, fate suddenly intervened in in the form of a modeling scout, who spotted her in São Paulo. Four years later, Gisele's appearance in Alexander McQueen's memorably rain-soaked London runway show in the spring 1998 launched her spectacular career as a fashion model, and put an end to the "heroin chic" era of fashion. Since then, Gisele has appeared in almost 400 ad campaigns and on over 1200 magazine covers.  She has walked in more than 470 fashion shows for the most influential brands in the world. Gisele has become an icon, leaving a lasting mark on the fashion industry.

But until now, few people have gotten to know the real Gisele, a woman whose private life stands in dramatic contrast to her public image. In Lessons, she reveals for the first time who she really is and what she's learned over the past 37 years to help her live a meaningful life--a journey that takes readers from a childhood spent barefoot in small-town Brazil, to an internationally successful career, motherhood and marriage to quarterback Tom Brady.

A work of great openness and vulnerability, Lessons reveals the inner life of a very public woman.
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