The actress and muse of the late designer sold 130 one-of-a-kind dresses at an auction in Paris yesterday evening
“Arguably the greatest fashion designer of the late 20th century,” according to AnOther’s fashion features director Alexander Fury, Yves Saint Laurent’s influence remains venerable. He is remembered chiefly for his love of women, and an innate understanding of how they wanted to dress, epitomised by the coterie of glamorous women he surrounded himself with: from Loulou de la Falaise to Paloma Picasso. Chief of those, though, was French actress Catherine Deneuve who became the living, breathing embodiment of his Saint Laurent woman and a lifelong friend – she was there on his arm when he took his final bow on the runway in 2002.
Yesterday evening, in a landmark auction at Christie’s in Paris that coincided with the end of couture week, Deneuve sold 130 one-of-a-kind Rive Gauche gowns created for her by the late designer, including a gold lurex-velvet column dress the actress wore to the Oscars in 2000 and a beaded mini-dress worn for her first meeting with Alfred Hitchcock in 1969. In total, the auction raised $1.02 million over the course of a fiercely contested five hours of bidding, according to the auctioneers. A further 170 items from her collection will remain on sale in an online auction, which runs until January 30.
Deneuve first met Saint Laurent aged 22, when she commissioned the designer to dress her for a meeting with the Queen (she was married to British photographer David Bailey at the time). It would mark the beginning of an enduring friendship, perhaps most remembered for their collaboration on Luis Buñuel’s 1967 film Belle du Jour, where Saint Laurent created the costumes for Deneuve’s lead character, sexually frustrated housewife Séverine Serizy – including a particularly memorable vinyl trench coat. “I am letting go of my house in Normandy where I kept this collection, not without sadness,” Deneuve previously said in a statement. “These are creations by such a talented man, who only designed to make women more beautiful.”
Catherine Deneuve et Yves Saint Laurent is online at Christie’s until January 30, 2019.