Saint Laurent's Betty Catroux: 5 things to know about YSL's longtime muse who still inspires the house

YSL forever

Text: Andrea Sim

She might have just graced a Saint Laurent campaign for the first time ever in fall/winter 2018, but her history with Yves Saint Laurent is decades deep

You know the name Betty. No, not Betty Cooper. Betty Catroux. More contemporarily known as the muse to Saint Laurent's Betty bag in recent years put out by Hedi Slimane in SS13 — that one with its flap corners "folded" upwards and a smooth, clean body — Catroux in fact, has a colourful history with founder and designer Yves Saint Laurent from the time they met in 1967.

Standing at six feet tall with a lean figure that carries suits better than most men do, the muse has a part to play in more than just an It-bag (and FW18's campaign at age 73, by Anthony Vaccarello) from the house. Below, five fast tidbits about your hero's muse. 

1. She was a model for Coco Chanel before meeting Saint Laurent
In her teens and pre-YSL days, Catroux was a Chanel girl. Similar to the likes of your Kaia Gerbers and Lily-Rose Depps of today, but dare we say with a lot more swag. After meeting the designer at a club in 1967, the rest is quite literally, history. She was Coco's girl no longer, and would then go on to have a lifelong relationship with Saint Laurent and the house.

2. She was monikered the designer's twin
Catroux's strong jawline and towering height meant that she didn't look like your average dainty lady, and her love affair with black tailoring and leather — still going strong today — floated a boyish vibe. Enough for those around the duo to see a part of Saint Laurent in her. 

3. She helped popularise the Le Smoking 
Call to mind androgynous model Freja Beha Erichsen in the brand's pre-fall 2013 ad campaign for Le Smoking. Well, Catroux cut a close figure and was often spotted wearing Saint Laurent’s suits. Though, she never ended up as the face of a campaign for YSL then. Actress, model and singer Charlotte Rampling fronted 1974's Le Smoking ad instead.

4. Catroux was part of Saint Laurent's close circle till his passing
Unlike many relationships — regardless whether they're platonic or romantic — that either fizzle out or go up in flames, the pair's friendship turned out to be for life, till the designer passed in 2008. 

5. She describes her life with the designer as a "fairytale" 
Before RKOI — that's Rich Kids of Instagram for the uninitiated — and the business of influence that's booming in the millenium, Catroux, Saint Laurent and the rest of his pals had been there, and done that. Days without sleep partying and zipping off to locales the world over on a whim was their thing — dressed in the designer's sleek duds of course, putting forth the whole jet-set and fine threads dream so many desire to emulate then and today. 

Watch Saint Laurent's fall/winter 2018 campaign by Anthony Vaccarello featuring Betty Catroux, above. 

Related articles

Buro 24/7 Selection