In Review

YSL muse: Betty Catroux’s unmistakable style

New exhibition and book celebrates the French fashion icon

portfolio_bettycatroux_ysl_teaser.png

Betty Catroux does not like the term “muse” but if anyone embodies this word, it is she, albeit with her own unique spin. Catroux’s louche androgynous style - never overtly sexy yet hugely desirable and undeniably intimidating - has influenced generation of designers, starting of course with Yves Saint Laurent. In fact, such was the bond between the French duo that Catroux is still referred to as Saint Laurent’s “female double”.

Now, her impeccable fashion pedigree is being celebrated at a new exhibition called Betty Catroux, Yves Saint Laurent – Feminine Singular at the Musée Yves Saint Laurent Paris. The French capital may not be easy to reach at the moment owing to travel restrictions and coronavirus quarantine rules but put it top of your holiday list for when we are all able to cross the Channel, in order to admire some of Catroux’s most treasured wardrobe pieces. 

The show runs until May 2021 and is curated by Saint Laurent’s current artistic director Anthony Vaccarello, who was given carte blanche by the museum and its governing body, the Fondation Pierre Bergé, to select items from its extensive archive of Catroux collectibles. His brief? To pick the pieces that best reveal her personality and ongoing influence on the label’s signature style.

“She lives and breathes Saint Laurent. An allure, a mystery, an almost nefarious aspect, an elusive yet desirable nature, all that underlies the house’s aura, and you understand the magnitude of it when you meet Betty,” says Vaccarello of the ever-youthful Catroux, who, at the age of 75, still maintains an aura of rock ‘n’ roll grandeur - helped along her cut-glass cheekbones and signature mussed-up blonde bob.

While fans over the the UK wait for the green light on travel, there’s an accompanying exhibition book to satiate our Catroux cravings. Published by Editions Gallimard and available at Waterstone’s (£30), it includes never-before-seen documents and images of the model. 

If you are heading to the French capital anytime soon, be sure to also stop by the Saint Laurent Rive Droite store on Rue Saint-Honoré, where you may be able to find a copy of Vaccarello’s own exclusively designed publication, a photographic record of his curation process at the museum. This book too seems destined to become a collector’s piece and, much like Catroux, a classic of the fashion world. 

Recommended

Love Simone Rocha? Then you’ll adore Shushu/Tong
Shushu/Tong AW21 oversized bow dress
Profile

Love Simone Rocha? Then you’ll adore Shushu/Tong

Finger candy: delectable jewels by Minka
Minka tourmaline rings
In Focus

Finger candy: delectable jewels by Minka

Michael Halpern designs one-off ballet shoe for Royal Opera House
Halpern ROH Unlocked
Behind the scenes

Michael Halpern designs one-off ballet shoe for Royal Opera House

Farewell, Gap: a high street staple falls
Gap store
Why we’re talking about . . .

Farewell, Gap: a high street staple falls

Popular articles

Why your AstraZeneca vaccine may mean no European holidays
Boris Johnson receives his second dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine
Getting to grips with . . .

Why your AstraZeneca vaccine may mean no European holidays

Govcoins: everything you need to know about the ‘revolutionary’ digital currencies
Digital Chinese currency is displayed on a mobile phone in Yichang, Hubei province, China
In Depth

Govcoins: everything you need to know about the ‘revolutionary’ digital currencies

Mark Cavendish: cycling’s greatest sprinter of all time
Mark Cavendish tour de france
Profile

Mark Cavendish: cycling’s greatest sprinter of all time

The Week Footer Banner