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Yves St. Laurent's Longtime Muse Loulou de la Falaise Dies at 64

Credited with inspiring label's "Le Smoking" jacket, the designer praised the former model's intuition, charm and "lightness of touch."

Loulou de la Falaise, the former model, muse and jewelry designer for French designer Yves Saint Laurent died Nov. 5 at age 64 at her home in Vexine, France. No cause of death has been announced but the Pierre Berge-Yves Saint Laurent Foundation announced her death with "Immense sadness" and referred to an undisclosed "long illness."

The aristocratic daughter of Maxime Birley, a former Elsa Schiaparelli English model and a French count Alain de la Falaise was born in England and grew up in London, studied fashion and later modeled and designed prints for the designer Halston in New York. She became a fashion muse for St. Laurent who loved her charm, wit, laugh, perceptiveness and her design talents after they met at a tea party in 1968.

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He once said of her: "Loulou’s true talent, other than her undeniable professional qualities, is her charm. Unique. Moving ... She has an extraordinary lightness of touch, along with a faultless critical view of fashion. Intuitive, innate, individual. Her presence at my side is a dream."

Her jewelry was known for brightly colored stones, large enamel flowers and rock crystal hearts, which became a trademark of St. Laurent's look, which mixed African influences with tailored silhouettes. The trend-setter is said to have inspired St. Laurent's "Le Smoking" jacket.

She was an integral part of St. Laurent's social and creative life during the '70s and is liberally mentioned in The Beautiful Fall, a intoxicating history of the Paris fashion scene from the '60's to the '90s. When Saint Laurent retired in 2002, she briefly launched a small label of her own and ran two boutiques in Paris. 

She is survived by her daughter and husband.

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