catherine deneuve and yves saint laurent

by Sharon Santoni


In a few days time in Paris there will be an auction, held at Christie’s, of more than 330 pieces from the wardrobe of Catherine Deneuve, dressed exclusively by Yves Saint Laurent.

This sale is more than just an auction, it is an event that unites so many aspects of French living and design.  Catherine Deneuve is maybe France’s best loved and most well known actress.  Beautiful, independent and still acting today, she has always held a fascination.   Yves Saint Laurent took Paris by storm when he first became the creative director at Dior and then founded his own fashion house, which today is still known and respected worldwide.

Deneuve first met Saint Laurent when the age of 22 she needed a dress to meet the Queen of England.  As one does.  She knocked at the door of the young Yves Saint Laurent’s couture house, and from that day on was dressed by nobody else.   She was his muse, his ambassador, his inspiration and most certainly his dear friend.

There were some eyebrows raised when the news of the sale became public.  Deneuve has recently sold her chateau in Normandy where the wardrobe was stored.  She is therefore selling for a question of storage space.   This makes sense.    Some though she’d do better to donate the wardrobe to the YSL museums in Paris or Marrakech.

No matter our opinion on that,  the fact remains that on the 24th January people around the world will have an opportunity to acquire a beautiful dress, handbag or piece of jewellery.  Click HERE to see the full catalogue, which is an enjoyable read because they show the clothes worn by Deneuve as well as the fine detailing.

These pictures are some of my favourite pieces, but if you click HERE you can pick out your own.  And just for fun, I am sharing this video of Deneuve, shot as an ad for YSL cosmetics.   It is very French, a beautiful video.


And in case you want a little beautifully-dressed-Deneuve-overdose then I suggest you watch or rewatch the film Indochine, for which her entire stage wardrobe was designed by Saint Laurent.  A masterpiece.


Catherine Deneuve & Yves Saint Laurent

Christies, 9 ave Matignon, Paris ,  24th January at 2.30pm

Viewing from 19-24th January,


Taste of France January 16, 2019 - 2:15 pm

I love that movie, Indochine. The scene where she dances tango with her daughter. Sigh.
Thanks for these photos–I have been devouring all the posts I’ve seen on Deneuve’s sale and you have some I hadn’t seen before. One of my favorites is Deneuve in the iconic tuxedo, with YSL adjusting the collar. 1967. Revolutionary clothing for the time.
And thanks for the link to the catalog.

david terry January 17, 2019 - 2:55 am

Yes, “Taste of France”……..the scene (in which Deneuve practices dancing with her adopted daughter in “Indochine”) is just rivettingly beautiful and captivating….and I couldn’t quite say why. Catherine is just so…..self-contained (Without being “icey”, which the critics also applied to Grace Kelley) and frankly (as in sincerely) sensual. This is probably why her lesbian scenes with Susan Sarandon (in “The Hunger”) were so moving/convincing that you (I, at least) simply stopped thinking about whether this was a “lesbian scene”. What it was, was…..just beautiful. For all the fuss made over her and male co-stars (Forgive me…but Burt Reynolds and Gerard Depardieu?), I think she’s at her very best when acting/interacting with other female actors… “A Christmas Tale” sometime. She’s brilliant in this fairly recent movie.
David Terry

Freddie Ann January 16, 2019 - 3:12 pm

Such a wardrobe. While in college I had a Professor who assigned each of us to write a paper on a certain individual he had chosen. Mine was on YSL – at the time (in the early 80s) I had no idea who this was, but I fell in love with his line of clothes. Adored his perfume which I would buy when I could afford it. If I only had that paper, but sadly it has been lost over the years of moving. This was before computers so I remember I had to really research for information, probably through tons of magazines.

Bonnie Gutierrez January 16, 2019 - 4:33 pm

The height of exquisite!

david terry January 16, 2019 - 4:34 pm

Well, here’s some unexpected name-dropping from a boy who grew up in East Tennessee….

A few weeks before our first trip to France together (his brother’s wedding in Grenoble), Herve asked me, as I was talking about “The Hunger” (the 1982 film with Deneuve and Bowie), “Well, would you like to meet her?” I said, somewhat sarcastically, “Oh, that would be fun, I guess. Why don’t you just ring her up and ask when she’s available?”
In a completely casual tone, Herve said “Oh, Okay….I didn’t know you were a fan…..”……and, sitting there at the breakfast table in North Carolina, he pulled out his telephone, while I stared from across the table and began carrying on a conversation in French with, as it turns out, Simon…her assistant and Herve’s longtime pal (he hadn’t told me about that, either). He put down his telephone, mildly announced “So……that worked out fine. We’ll have lunch at her house in Grasse after the wedding. You might want to email her first and introduce yourself…..”….and then he went back to eating his eggs.

So, he gave me her email address, I wrote a blithering sort of letter, she responded charmingly, and we corresponded a few times (she seemed excited that Dr. Herve had finally gotten an American boyfriend) before we set off for France. I did find out how Herve knew her (it IS the sort of question that immediately comes to mind when your boyfriend turns out to be chums with a famous movie star). Turns out that, during his first year of full-practice, Herve was the attending doctor for Catherine’s good friend, the young director Cyril Collard (who eventually died of AIDS). As Herve put it “Well, you get to know someone pretty well when you’ve both spent nights sitting next to each other, in plastic chairs outside a hospital room…..”

And, so, after the wedding in Grenoble, we drove down to Grasse. That simple. She’s everything you would expect….charming, ironic, curious, and completely disinclined to discuss the movie-business (which was good, since I’m utterly uninformed about it). As I recall, the only aspect of movies she mentioned was how ghastly-awful it was, having to lose 36 pounds and STILL having to wear a corset throughout the filming (on location) of “Indochine”. I guess I’d hate it, also. That said?….and as I tell folks when they discover that we know CATHERINE DENEUVE (!?!?!?)….I remind them that I know Catherine D’Orleac, the actual woman…..not “Catherine Deneuve”, the movie star.

The only juicy tidbit of gossip that I feel at liberty to divulge is that her private email address is, amusingly, the most hidden-in-plain-sight address I know of (at least, one belonging to a celebrity).

Well, that’s all the names I have to drop this morning…..

thanks as ever for the obviously evocative posting,

David Terry
Quail Roost Farm
Rougemont, NC

Susan January 16, 2019 - 11:11 pm

How wonderful!

Betsy Norvell January 17, 2019 - 2:04 pm

What a wonderful story. So glad you were able to experience being with her. Thank you!

StitchinSweetSue January 16, 2019 - 5:06 pm

“As one does.” You kill me Sharon:)

david terry January 17, 2019 - 7:13 pm

Oh…..”As one does”…….that’s a Britishism (and, as we know, Sharon’s English) that I picked up from my tutor at Oxford. it’s quite similar to the Southern habit (usually womens’) of ending with a vague “Well, bless her heart….”. Both are fairly deadly, closing asides…..but they give one the advantage of having been/said nothing but PERFECTLY NICE. My tutor would use it in this sense “Well, it seems that the Provost of Oriel has been having an affair with his sick wife’s, 17 year old niece, as we all do from time to time, you know?”

Herve (who’s French) was delighted with and immediately adopted that very useful phrase……as in “Have you heard the news about Bill Clinton and the 22 year old intern with whom he’s _____ and ____ in the Oval Office, as, of course, we all do from time to time….?”

In any case,it’s one of my favorite Britishisms…….very (As we say in the South) “Why, butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth!” (i.e., you can be as cutting, critical, and/or dismissive and gossipy as you please, but no one can accuse you, as a lady, of being mean-spirited or vindictive).

David Terry

Robert January 16, 2019 - 5:55 pm

You are truly the “guru of design”!! As an impressionable teenager, I thought Catherine Deneuve was the epitome of the
elegant, classical beauty! As for the sale of her Laurent clothes ( purchased or gifted), they belong to her and she has the right
to dispose of them as she wishes.

Carlee Hoffman January 16, 2019 - 7:44 pm

What I miss the most with regard to Catherine Deneuve is her PARFUM by same name. Exquisite. Loved it. Scored for the last remaining bits of it. Always I was told it was a top seller anyplace I sought it out, only to be told she’d stopped producing it. will never understand why she stopped.

Colleen Taylor January 16, 2019 - 9:06 pm

She always was and still is the epitome of beauty and elegance. I adore her wardrobe! Thank for this! X

Kande January 16, 2019 - 10:39 pm

In defense of Catherine “selling” her YSL wardrobe, another view could be, to believe that the Pierre Berge/YSL Foundation can afford to purchase every piece (from her collection) that they’d like to have in their museum in Paris. I’m hoping to visit the museum later this year 🙂

david terry January 17, 2019 - 3:16 am

Okay, back again with more tidbits (none of which I would regard as compromising). I once had an email exchange with Catherine in which I simply asked (And I’d pretended to be nothing more than I am…..a southern boy who was partners with a French doctor she admired and liked) It must so STRANGE to be a movie-star……don’t you spend your entire life moving from place to place and meeting other people, including other actors, that you would like to know better?…..but schedules rip you away, and you never really become friends, the way ‘normal’ people can?”. She agreed that it was difficult. I told her that, actually, I didn’t envy a globe-trotting celebrity’s life at all, and, actually, thought it must be sort of sad in many ways. She agreed…..writing (And she’s perfectly fluent in English) “I like your take on celebrity”. Then, she went on to describe the difference between how she approaches/regards her celebrity and her own self…..ending with the conclusion that , otherwise, one ends up being “une etoile filante” (a “shooting star”, or disposable starlet).
Need I say that she’s VERY smart, very level-headed, and equipped (since she was twenty or so, and her already famous, older, actress sister died in an all too-famous car accident) with the ability to tell reality from the public’s movie/fashion fantasies? Simultaneously?…..she’s quite capable of “giving” herself to a performance/movie. I admire her a great deal… a person.

David Terry (who has another friend who’s touched Julia Roberts’ breasts, we assume, since she was his babysitter when she was very young and he was an infant. “Stars” do, after all, have real lives and pasts…..)
Quail Roost Farm
Rougemont,, NC

Ana Maria January 17, 2019 - 4:34 am

During a recent visit to the marché at the Porte de Vaves in Paris, I recognized her. It was very early and the market wasn’t crowded yet. My sister who was with me, argued it wasn’t Ms Deneuve, “what would she be doing at a flea market?” she said. Well, it was she indeed. I gathered up my courage, rehearsed my high school French, and approached her. She was cordial and delightful. We actually conversed for a couple of minutes. At 7:30 am on a cold, rainy Saturday morning at a flea market, she looked as beautiful and as elegant as in any movie.

Barbara January 17, 2019 - 9:40 pm

I, too, loved the Catherine Denueve parfum. Is it sold in France?

Stacy Kirby January 18, 2019 - 10:49 pm

She is the embodiment of the quintessential French movie star. Elegant, beautiful, cool and stylish she is the ideal. In the 1980s she was a muse of the fashion industry and her perfume graced the beauty departments of all the stylish shops! Thank you for your tribute to her, no representation of French style would be complete without her.

Sandra T. January 29, 2019 - 6:29 am

The incredible Catherine Deneuve! Always exquisite and perfectly dressed, she was the epitome of everything ELEGANT! But I loved her commercials for Chanel the most: “He knows what you want”. Indeed!


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