Welcome Giulia, Farewell Loulou

The year in France had its moment of joy with the birth of Giulia Sarkozy, daughter of one-time supermodel  Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, 43, and the French president, Nicholas Sarkozy. (Hands up those who thought the marriage wouldn’t last).

Mr Sarkozy missed the birth because of an urgent meeting in Frankfurt to try to stitch up a rescue package for the Eurozone crisis with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.    He spent a mere 50 minutes with the infant and her mum before rushing off to a waste disposal centre in western France, thus dismissing his paternity leave rights.

“We are fortunate enough to have a great joy,’’ Sarkozy told the assembly of workers.

“All the parents here can understand our very profound joy, a joy that is all the more profound for the fact that it is private.’’

They cheered the president and presented him with a bib for the new bub, an oak tree for the garden and Mince Alors, a book for Carla. Ironically, translated as “Thin Then’’, the book gives advice on losing weight, particularly after pregnancy and how not to become obsessed with dieting.

Ironically, Carla is making a very public appearance right now in cinemas around Australia with a bit part as a tour guide in Woody Allen’s latest film, Midnight in Paris.

French media reckons France’s First Lady is unpopular,  yet Italian-born Carla has proved to be a stylish, gracious and beautiful consort to the President.

Marriage matters in France and family is still the foundation of French society, and although opinion polls show that Mr Sarkozy is behind his socialist rival, Francois Holland, a baby in Elysees Palace could well be a trump card.

On a much sadder note, French fashion legend, Loulou de la Falaise, Saint Laurent’s colourful muse, died at her home in northwest France this year, aged 64.

Louise Vava Lucia Henriette Le Bailly de la Falaise acted as Yves Saint Laurent’s “creative partner, confidante and sentinal’’ for three decades from 1972 until 2002, according to the obituary published in The Times.

She had eccentric roots with a wild Irish beauty, Rhoda Lecky Pike as her grandmother and a mother who said she christened her newborn daughter with perfume instead of water in 1948. However, because of her mother’s many affairs, little Louise was placed in foster care.

At age 20, she was a junior editor of Queen magazine when she met Saint Laurent, who had established his fashion house six years beforehand upon the death of Christian Dior in 1958.

De la Falaise and Saint Laurent immediately took to each other. “Apart from her striking red-haired, wisp-thin beauty, he was attracted by her directness of manner and edgy sense of humour.  After a disastrous showing in 1971, she appreciated his gesture in sending her a box of high-cut emerald green fox fur coats,’’ The Times reported.

Within three years, Loulou was in Paris working with Saint Laurent, making jewellery for his fashion shows.

Loulou launched her own fashion label and eccentric accessories upon the retirement of Saint Laurent.

Once when asked what clothes she collected, she said: “I don’t collect clothes – I hand them down. They do sometimes turn into a pile of dust, but that’s tribute to a good life.’’


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