Half angel, half demon, the muse, without any rational explanation, fascinates and inspires the artist. She is an eternal source of influence in his work as a stylist, and her presence alone nurtures the creative dynamics of all his collections. Whether muse, friend or artistic guide, the two often form an inseparable duo. This fusional relationship, whether ephemeral or long-lasting, yet always very strong, often leaves an indelible mark on the work of the designer. A cross-portrait of muses with both classic and atypical beauties, but always very charismatic.
It is impossible to dissect the muse’s profile as it varies so much from one creator to another: unknown, singer, model, actress or jet-setter. Not everyone is a muse who wants to be a muse, but anyone can become a muse at any time. In constant search of his feminine alter ego, the fashion designer sees beauty other than physical beauty. With an exacerbated sensitivity, he relies on the aura of a personality, on the flaws, strengths or weaknesses of his fellow man, to draw his creative impulse. Which are the most famous duos?
Yves Saint Laurent
An aesthetic and friendly love at first sight, Yves Saint Laurent and Betty Catroux have been in the spotlight as well as the darker sides of fashion for 40 years. Betty Catroux, the tall man’s fetish model, with her androgynous silhouette, perfectly embodied the masculine-feminine signature so cherished by Saint Laurent. Platinum blonde hair, large sunglasses fixed on her nose, long legs, all the physical ideal according to YSL. This instinctive open-mindedness was also the first in the conventional world of haute couture to celebrate African beauty by parading Katoucha Niane, Iman, or Rebecca Ayoko, a crossbreeding of bodies, senses, codes of aesthetics. A totally innovative approach in the 80’s.
Jean Paul Gautier
The enfant terrible of fashion was one of the first designers to promote inclusive fashion. Breaking free of any social constraints, JPG has placed diversity at the heart of his shows by breaking down all the barriers imposed by the industry. Respectful of diversity, the forerunner of “out of the ordinary” lines (small sizes, round, transgender, diverse origins…), JPG’s muses have had one thing in common: they have shunned the archetypical beauty: Madonna, Beth Ditto, Conchita Wurst, Nabilla, but also Farida Khelfa, who may have been his muse throughout his career.
For a long time Inès de la Fressange was His ideal woman. From the 80’s, the tall brunette with false airs of Coco, maintained privileged relations with the kaiser. But with each decade, Karl found his muse. Claudia Schiffer’s icy beauty, Kate Moss’ twiggy appearance, Vanessa Paradis’ French charm (and her daughter Lilly Rose 20 years later), or even more recently, Cara Delevingne’s unconventional style. But the emblematic figure of the rue de Cambon has also disrupted conventions. Rather rare in the profession, her muse has taken on more masculine traits in the person of Baptiste Giabiconi, a personality with “elegance and androgynous beauty”. Karl, despite his apparent rigidity, did nothing like everyone else. Impossible to conclude this list without mentioning Choupette, his star cat, certainly the last of his muses and by far certainly the most feline!
Behind every designer, every stylist, every talent is someone else who serves as a creative spark to the stylist. Through personalities, encounters, plural beauties are revealed but only really come to life in the eyes of the one who knows how to detect them…and exploit them.