It’s been a sad month so far in the world of fashion. First, on November 4th, Theodora van Runkle, the designer of the fabulous costumes for the 1960s classic movie, Bonnie and Clyde, died of lung cancer. The next day the death on October 12 of James van Doren, the creator of the Vans skateboarding shoe was reported. And later that day we learned that French designer and Yves Saint Laurent muse, Loulou de la Falaise had also passed away.
Much has been written in the past week of the contributions of these people, so I’ll not go on about how each in his or her own way was influential. But, as incredible as it might seem, I have a friend who was a teenage friend of de la Falise, and she has graciously agreed to share a few memories.
Remembering a Young LouLou de la Falaise
“In the early 60’s I was in the tenth grade and ended up at a private school in Switzerland. My best friend there was an American fromTexas. She and I were ‘tomboys’ and spent most of our free time exploring the local farms, while the other students went to the village for tea and rendezvous with area boys.
“One of the students at that school was Loulou de la Falaise. Loulou and my roommate, who was also French, were best buddies. They were both paper thin and waifish. I remember Loulou as being free spirited and always looking somewhat tousled. The school was international with French being the spoken language. Loulou certainly had a presence and an individual style, but she kept a low profile and stuck close to her few French friends. She was a bit of a sprite, always curious and ready to try something new.
“Nobody paid attention to anyone else’s background/families at the school, so I knew nothing about her mother or her past history. I read now that there was a messy divorce and Loulou lived with foster families until she was seven, at which point she was shipped off to private schools. No wonder she seemed a bit aloof to me. I was the class clown and I could tell that while my antics amused her, she also found me a bit uncouth.
“I read online that she was expelled for keeping a St. Bernard in her room. I am in touch with her roommate from those days and she says that’s not true. I was wondering why I remembered nothing about a dog and Loulou’s expulsion.
“We did not keep in touch. I was happy to see her develop her jewelry line over the years and hope that her life was happy and fulfilling for her.”
Thanks to my friend for sharing her memories. The photo is a long time favorite of mine. It is from the January 1971 issue of Vogue; photo by Jack Robinson. Interestingly, The Berenson sisters were also students at the school.