As of one of the original purveyors of Parisian chic and a muse to many of the world's leading designers, Catherine Deneuve has the kind of wardrobe which thousands dream of raiding.
Now the world is getting its chance. In January, Christie's Paris will auction 300 lots from Deneuve's personal collection of Yves Saint Laurent couture. The 75 year-old actress, who remains a style muse and front row fixture today, has decided to part ways with the collection because of the sale of her home in Normandy.
On January 24th, during Paris Haute Couture week, 150 lots will be sold via a live auction with the remaining 150 available between 23rd and 30th January in an online sale.
Saint Laurent, who died in 2008, was famous for his close friendships with stylish women who inspired him including Betty Catroux and Loulou de la Falaise, but his bond with Deneuve was arguably the most culturally impactful.
“In 1965, I was invited to be presented to Queen Elizabeth II and my husband David Bailey, a fashion photographer, suggested that I ask Yves Saint Laurent for an evening dress," Deneuve said of the start of her friendship with the couturier. "I arrived at Rue Spontini with a photo from the Russian Collection from the previous year which he agreed to create for me."
Saint Laurent created a white column dress in crepe with ruby-red embroidery around the shoulders and wrists for Deneuve's meeting with Her Majesty. He would go on to dress her both on and off screen.
"I was only 20 years old and I had the privilege of being given access to this world of luxury, to train my eye and my taste by his side. He dressed me several times in films and I think that Belle de Jour in particular owes a great deal to him."
Deneuve's Severine in Belle de Jour and Miriam in The Hunger remain two of the most influential film characters in fashion thanks to their Yves Saint Laurent wardrobes. For the former it was all about neat Sixties chic, while the latter is known for her hard-edged power glamour, a look which was revived on the Givenchy catwalk for autumn/ winter 2018.
Among the items to go on sale from Deneuve's personal wardrobe, amassed over forty years of friendship and collaboration, will be one of the maison's iconic Le Tuxedo jackets from 1982 and a mini dress from 1969 which is expected to fetch up to 5,000 euros. The large number of lots on offer mean that the sale is expected to provide an unparalleled opportunity to purchase pieces from one of the great designer-muse relationships of the 20th century.
"His consummate gravitas during the fittings together with his shy charm outside the atelier made all the years we shared so enchanting - our silent complicity, our crazy laughter and our melancholy brought us together," added Deneuve who still attends Saint Laurent's biannual fashion shows. "Now, I am leaving my house in Normandy where I kept this wardrobe - not without a certain sadness - these are the creations of such a talented man who only designed clothes to beautify women”.