For nearly a half-century, Betty and François Catroux have been one of
Paris society’s most storied couples. The romance began one evening in
1967, when François tried to put down some francs for a drink at
Regine’s. “ ‘It’s been paid for,’ ” François recalls the bartender
“I didn’t pay for it,” interjects Betty when the story of how they
first “cruised” each other comes up over dinner with her husband on a
recent evening at Le Voltaire. “I told the barman, ‘Give him a drink.’
They were begging me to go to nightclubs then. Everything was free.”
Well, it was—if you were Betty Saint, as she was then. With a long
mane of straight platinum hair and legs that didn’t stop, she was one of
the original “It girls.”
“I knew she was the one for me immediately,” says François. “If I
missed this one, there was nobody else. I couldn’t miss this one.
“We’ve been together for 50 years,” he continues. “No regrets. But
she’s not something . . . normal. She’s a special case.”
Details of her parentage and birth in Rio de Janeiro have been somewhat
blurry in press accounts over the years. Tonight, she opens dinner with
a bit of a bang, by announcing, “I was illegitimate.”
When Betty was four years old, her mother, Carmen, a daughter of Italian
émigrés, ended a short marriage to a Brazilian gentleman and took her to
Paris—“in her suitcase,” Betty has said previously. In France,
Carmen married Daniel Saint, a wealthy entrepreneur, whose last name
As she grew up, Betty received occasional visits from someone who was,
she was told, a family friend. “A man who looked like Peter O’Toole,
stayed at the Ritz, took me to tea, and was very nice,” she says.
“When I was around 12 or 13, I guessed it,” she continues. “I was his
Her real father was Elim O’Shaughnessy, a Yale-educated American
diplomat who had also dated such other beauties as Babe Paley and
Pauline de Rothschild. (He was also the father of V.F. contributing
editor Elise O’Shaughnessy.) He had met Carmen when he was posted in
South America. He died in 1966 at the age of 59. “When Babe met me, she
couldn’t believe it,” adds Betty. “I looked exactly like her great
love. She and I had a divine relationship until she died.”
The only thing Betty won’t divulge is her age. “It won’t come out of my
mouth!” she says. But when she was 17, in the early 60s, Betty started
modeling for Coco Chanel. Six feet tall (the same height as François),
Betty towered over the runway. “I was the baby of the house,” she
says. “Chanel adored me. Through her, I learned cynicism. She was
totally cynical. She said horrors about everyone. And she was right. But
she was charming.”
Betty met Yves Saint Laurent at Regine’s just a few months after she had
met François in much the same fashion. Saint Laurent and Betty’s bond
was immediate and intense as well. “He probably felt I was like
him—disturbed, neurotic,” she says. “We were alike.” Betty’s
figure, along with her personality, made her “a living mannequin” for
Saint Laurent, as François says.
“Betty personified the ideal woman for Yves,” confirms Pierre Bergé,
Saint Laurent’s longtime partner and a major French industrialist, by
phone from Tangier.
For decades, the designer and his muse talked incessantly, daily. About
what?, I ask. “Ourselves!” she answers quickly. “Not very
interesting. Never a word about fashion.”
She laughs about her reputation as a style icon. “I hate fashion!” she
says. Even as she became synonymous with Saint Laurent’s Le Smoking—a
man’s tuxedo adapted to a woman’s body—“Yves always had a feminine
touch,” Betty says. “He made the woman come out.
“Now I am all man—thanks to Hedi [Slimane],” she adds. “I’ve
dressed like a man since he came to Saint Laurent.” Since Slimane’s
departure, in April, from the house, where he was creative director, she
is “desperate,” she says. “My closet is a museum of Yves and a museum
It has been reported that Betty and Yves entered rehab together on
occasion for their respective drug problems. “Many times!,” Betty
confirms cheerily as she sips a nice white Burgundy. She describes their
stays as “Great fun!,” where they were both “wanting to go out and
“They shared the same taste for living and having a good time. They
were both very naughty,” says Bergé jocularly.
Eight years after Saint Laurent died in her arms, Betty offers some
revisionist history. “Everyone thinks Yves was the sweetie pie and
Pierre was the tough one. It was the opposite. Pierre is a very human
and caring person. He bleeds. He suffered. Yves did suffer—about
With Yves and many other members of their golden circle gone, the
Catroux continue to be a source of fascination and reverence for younger
generations of the style-conscious. They are the beau ideal of
glamour—and they are still kicking.
“They are an essential reference from the 70s, but they are still a
very inspiring couple,” says writer and producer Olivier Widmaier
Picasso, a grandson of the artist. “When you see them they talk about
interesting topics—not like bourgeois socialites,” he says,
pronouncing “bourgeois” with visceral disdain.
“They come from the world of the real jet set, when people traveled
from Paris to New York on the Concorde for lunch, without the need to
post pictures on Facebook or Instagram. They don’t need a selfie,” he
says. “This is the real chic. They still maintain an elegance.”
But there’s a secret to this ultimate style couple. They are homebodies,
who only occasionally venture out at night from their apartment on the
Rue de Lille, where they have lived since 1992 and which François is
currently renovating. According to François, they curtailed their social
activities about a decade ago. “We haven’t been to a disco in 20
years,” adds Betty.
And they are grandparents. “Don’t talk about that!” says Betty with a
shriek. According to many friends, however, they dote on Vivien, 10, and
Alexandre, 12, the children of their daughter, Daphné, who handles
cultural exhibitions at Dior. The couple’s other child, Maxime, an
editor at the distinguished art-book publisher Flammarion, recently
married her girlfriend of nearly 20 years, in a small ceremony (attended
by Pierre Bergé and a few other close friends and family) at Paris’s
City Hall that made François and Betty “delighted and proud,” Betty
says. “I’ve got the most fabulous children and grandchildren.”
Conventional parents clearly they were not. (“I told my children, ‘I
don’t like children,’ ” Betty recalls telling her girls when they were
young.) But they were devoted. “Miraculously, with an alternative
notion of family,” says Maxime, speaking for her and her sister, “they
conveyed their sense of humor, beauty, culture, and love to us.”
When not in Paris, François and Betty are generally alone together at
Les Ramades, a 16th-century stone house in the Lourmarins region of
Provence, on 10 lush acres, which they bought in 1990.
Houseguests, according to François, are “very few,” and these are
invited only in July and August. “That’s it,” he says.
“They have the manners of people who don’t need to prove anything,”
says Baroness Hélène de Ludinghausen. “If he doesn’t like someone, he
doesn’t bother. He’s never been an ass-kisser.”
“We love to be alone together, with our two cats,” says François.
“We’re madly in love with our cats.”
That would be Mic and Mac, a pair of blue-gray Burmese, who were born in
Oklahoma. François flew to Tulsa to pick them up from the breeder of his
previous cat, Bleuy, who was tragically run over by a car. “I was in
tears,” he says about the accident.
Otherwise, his great pleasure on weekends is speeding down the Provençal
roads in his black Aston Martin Vanquish convertible, or one of his two
Mercedes-AMG convertible sports cars (one black, the other matte gray).
But Monday morning it is back to work. When the subject of retirement is
brought up, he laughs off the idea.
“I wouldn’t know what to do. I feel 26. I don’t see my age—except
when I look in the mirror.”
Nobody else seems to see his age, either. “It’s shocking how he both
looks and acts lots of decades younger than he is,” says Barry Diller.
“He ain’t stuck.”
So much has been written about James Dean, and his influence looms so large over movies and over popular cultural in general, that it’s always jarring to be reminded that at the time of his death, at the preposterously young age of 24, he had starred in only three films—two of which hadn’t even been released when he died in a car crash on Sept. 30, 1955.
And yet, as iconic a star as Dean has become, much of the public’s view of the brooding young man from Indiana was, in fact, formed not by his singular onscreen presence in Giant, East of Eden or even Rebel Without a Cause, but by a series of remarkable pictures made in early 1955 by the photographer Dennis Stock.
In his 2005 book James Dean: Fifty Years Ago, Stock writes of trying to get the rapidly rising actor, whom he barely knew, to agree to let the photographer chronicle Dean’s return to both New York and Indiana from his new home in Los Angeles.
“The story, as I explained it [to Jimmy],” Stock wrote, “was to reveal the environments that affected and shaped the unique character of James Byron Dean. We felt a trip to his hometown, Fairmount, Indiana, and to New York, the place of his professional beginnings, would best reveal those influences. . . . I would solicit an assignment guarantee to cover expenses. The obvious magazine to approach was LIFE. . . . It took only a week for LIFE to approve the assignment.”
The photographs that Stock produced during his time with Dean captured an introspective, intensely self-analyzing (and occasionally self-absorbed) artist—albeit one who could, at times, also be self-deprecating almost to the point of parody.
LIFE, meanwhile, ran a number of the pictures in its March 7, 1955, issue, under the headline, “Moody New Star.” East of Eden was about to open, and would make Dean a household name. Less than six months later, mere weeks before the release of Rebel Without a Cause, the phenomenally talented, category-defying actor would be dead—and would pass into legend.
Here, LIFE.com remembers the too-short life and brilliant, violently truncated career of a true Hollywood original, as seen through the lens of a brilliant photographer, and asks: What would it have felt like?
What would it have felt like to receive one’s weekly issue of LIFE magazine in the mail in, say, a small town in New Mexico, or New Hampshire—or in Boston or Chicago or Miami, for that matter—what would it have felt like to open it up, and encounter in its pages that startling shot of a haunted-looking Dean, cigarette in his mouth, stalking through Times Square in the rain? There’s a kind of desolate romance in that picture—a bracing, bleak solitude that evokes the story of every young, driven, creative person who has ever moved to a city to pursue a dream.
What did it feel like to see that picture, for the very first time, long before the man in the raincoat with the inscrutable, lopsided grin had become something far larger than a mere movie star?
It’s difficult—close to impossible—to encounter any pictures of note that we’ve known for decades and see them, really see them, as if looking at them for the first time. But if we’re able to suspend for even a brief moment all we’ve come to know of James Dean, or all we think we know of James Dean, then the pictures in this gallery offer more than just a diversion, more than just a reminder of what was lost when Dean was killed in that car wreck six decades ago. They offer us a chance to experience the jolt that must have raced through countless readers in the late winter of 1955, as they gazed at Stock’s portraits of this beautiful, thrilling young star, all the while knowing, knowing, that he would be with them, starring in movies, for years to come.
Katie Holmes was spotted riding the subway in the Big Apple yesterday looking every bit the New Yorker that she is, and we’re loving her casual chic ensemble. The actress hit the streets and swiped through the turnstile in an outfit that consisted of a simple striped T-shirt and denim skinny jeans. She paired the pieces with nude ballet flats, her favorite graphic black-and-white Tod’s satchel, and a pair of dark wayfarer sunnies. To complete her look, the Dawson’s Creek alum pulled her long brunette strands up into a messy topknot.
VIDEO: Katie Holmes’s Red Carpet Style
But that wasn’t Holmes’s only stylish outing this week. The 37-year-old took to Instagram yesterday to share a photo of her and her 10-year-old daughter Suri Cruise checking out a painting at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, where the star of The Kennedys: After Camelot donned a pretty lace-trimmed black dress.
RELATED: Katie Holmes and Suri Cruise Have a Stylish Mother-Daughter Art Outing
We’re definitely keeping our eye out for Holmes on our next morning commute.
As you get older, there comes a time when you just have to accept the fact that your closet will be filled with at least one bridesmaid dress you sadly (or sometimes not so sadly) will never wear again. Whether you are absolutely in love with your dress or not, finding the appropriate occasion to wear a formal, typically pastel chiffon gown is slim to none. Well, two bright fashion graduates (and frequent bridesmaids) realized how dated this notion was and decided to do something about it by creating a website dedicated to a seamless bridesmaid dress shopping experience.
The site is called Name of Love and offers everything from modern and flattering bridesmaid dress options to a place for brides to connect with their party so they can all shop and collaborate in one common space. Offered in a total of 14 styles coming in a variety of eight different colors, these are unlike your typical bridesmaid dresses for more reasons than one. Besides the sleek and extremely fashionable silhouettes, they were designed to actually be worn again, post-ceremony. After one scroll through Name of Love’s gown selection, you’ll quickly see why that is.
Keep reading to shop the incredible fashion-forward bridesmaid dresses from the new site Name of Love.
Flats are a shoe category that never really excite me. For one thing, they usually make the opposite of a statement, which I personally feel is a waste. It’s rare to come across a pair of flats that are worthy of becoming a street style phenomenon, such as the covetable Miu Miu ballet flats, accompanied by their playful gingham ribbons, rock-star buckles, and dainty ballerina silhouette. Now that, my friends, is a pair worth wearing.
Well, those ballerina flats better move aside, because this new flats trend we’re about to discuss give your feet the attention they deserve (and prove me wrong when it comes to flats’ excitement factor). Designers across the board—including Rochas, Oscar de la Renta, The Row, and Dolce Gabbana—have come forth with flats that are almost too pretty to wear. Adorned with satin, bows, and 3-D fabric structures, the trend we speak of is similar to a slipper that you could easily wear to a black-tie function.
Since this trend has just begun to bubble up in the fashion world, there are unfortunately limited affordable retailers selling the style at this moment, but we expect to see stores like Zara, HM, and Mango come out with their own versions in no time at all. So keep your eyes open, because this trend is one that is too gorgeous to pass up.
Keep reading to shop this new flats trend, and stay on the lookout for more affordable versions to come!
This summer we’ve seen plenty of shoulder, but there’s a new uncovered trend to keep in mind for the coming months: back-baring tops. Okay, so maybe it’s not exactly what Sir Mix-a-Lot meant when he wrote the song “Baby Got Back,” but we love the idea of showing a little skin in an unexpected way. There’s something special about knowing that while your look may seem standard from the front, everyone will stop and stare when you walk away. (How’s that for making a statement?) So what’s the ideal amount of back to show when you’re shopping the trend? The answer is that it’s all up to you. Some tops and dresses show off the entire spine, while others offer just a small peek. So no matter what you’re comfortable with, you can take part in this pretty trend.
Have we convinced you yet? Read on to shop our favorite backless pieces and jump on the trend now!
Since giving birth to her second child, Saint West, in December, Kim Kardashian West has successfully embarked on a tremendous journey to morph her figure into pre-baby shape. Has it worked? The beauty recently dropped to a whopping 125.4 lbs, a number she hadn’t reached in “five years.” Simply put, the reality TV star and media entrepreneur looks good.
So how, exactly, has Kardashian West managed to keep a slender figure? It’s all about the food. “You have to stay really focused,” she tells InStyle. That focus can be found in each and every meal she consumes in a day. “For breakfast, I’ll have egg whites or scrambled eggs with a little bit of either vegetables in it, a little bit of cheese, sometimes turkey bacon,” she tells us. “For lunch, like today I had a turkey salad with like egg whites in it, a little bit of onions, and sliced turkey. And then for dinner, I’ll have either like a chicken or a salmon.”
Protein-fueled meals seem like a no-brainer, but what happens when the craving for, say, a piece of chocolate kicks in? “I have protein bars if I need a snack, or trail mix. It just really depends…I always have something in my purse in case I get hungry, so I don’t, you know, make a stop somewhere else.”
RELATED: Kim Kardashian Reveals Her New Post-Baby Weight: “I Haven’t Been This in Five Years”
It’s safe to say we may have to try this new Kim K-approved diet.