Betty Catroux was a famous fashion icon of her time, known for androgynous ensembles that got the attention of one of the top fashion designers of the 20th century: Yves Saint Laurent. The pair met in a nightclub (The New Jimmy’s) in 1967. Many go as far as saying that Betty Catroux is Yves Saint Laurent’s “female double”. Yves Saint Laurent expressed his high praise of her masculine style in 1968 when he told readers of Women’s Wear Daily: “She’s perfect in my clothes. Just what I like. Long, long, long.”
To demonstrate this special relationship between Catroux and Saint Laurent, an exhibition featuring donations from Catroux’s wardrobe has opened its doors at the Musée Yves Saint Laurent Paris. Organised in conjunction with Saint Laurent, the exhibition that opened on March 3 feature pieces from the major donation Betty Catroux made to the Fondation Pierre Bergé – Yves Saint Laurent. This was the organization that was set up in 2002 after Yves Saint Laurent announced he was ending his career as a couturier and closed the haute couture house.
Catroux’s donation is the largest the Fondation Pierre Bergé – Yves Saint Laurent has ever received and is exceptionally noteworthy because her pieces embody both the signature style that Yves Saint Laurent continually upheld throughout his career and demonstrates Catroux’s strong connection with the French fashion designer. It also showcases the entire wardrobe of a fashion icon. Catroux explained her style choices in an interview with Antidote magazine in 2014: “I’ve always been captivated by what’s masculine. Always wore jeans, a man’s jacket… I don’t feel like a girl or a boy, but more in a seductive position when dressed in boy’s clothes.”
This exhibition vividly recounts the full history of the signature ‘Saint Laurent style’. In this journey through Catroux’s historic wardrobe, there are 180 haute couture pieces, many of which were runway prototypes. There are also 138 pieces that Yves Saint Laurent designed for his trailblazing ready-to-wear line Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche – the first of its kind at the time.
This exhibition runs until October 11, 2020 at Musée Yves Saint Laurent Paris , 5 avenue Marceau, Paris 16ème. For more information, visit wwwmuseeyslparis.com