In Seventies Paris, Betty Catroux and her husband, François, have been the glittering couple on the coronary heart of French excessive society and what was once referred to as the worldwide jet set.
She was the androgynous mannequin and darling of the French designer Yves Saint Laurent, he the self-taught inside decorator who remodeled the mansions, grand flats and chateaux of the super-rich or royal, amongst them the Rothschilds, Diane von Furstenberg and, later, Roman Abramovich.
At Chez Régine nightclub, the celebrated venue on the rue de Ponthieu, the towering 6ft Betty and her husband, described by one buddy as having the air of “a Riviera playboy”, held court docket with the likes of Andy Warhol, Salvador Dalí, Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin, or visiting Hollywood stars reminiscent of Audrey Hepburn and Ava Gardner.
When the partying ended, the Catroux returned residence, typically in a single of his costly sports activities vehicles. And their final homecoming was to be to an outstanding condo within the former Maeterlinck Palace overlooking the Baie des Anges on the French Riviera at Good, the place François had determined he would finish his days. It was a best-laid plan; tragically the Côte d’Azur flat, a private end result of his life’s work and designed solely for him and his spouse, was barely accomplished when Catroux found he had most cancers. He died in November 2020.
Now the complete contents of the property, by which the couple are mentioned to have spent solely a handful of nights, are to be bought off in a single auction as a tribute to the discreet designer typically hailed as one of probably the most influential decorators of the twenty first century.
François Catroux, born in Algeria, was the grandson of the Gen Georges Catroux, a distinguished navy hero who met Charles de Gaulle whereas in captivity in Germany through the first world warfare and joined the Free French in London through the second.
As a boy, Catroux was a pupil on the identical Roman Catholic boarding faculty in Oran as Saint Laurent, who later turned his shut buddy.
He was dwelling in New York, working as a journalist for Elle journal writing about luxurious flats, when the Italian trend queen Mila Schön requested him to design her Milan showroom. The outcome, a laminate spaceship, brought about a storm worldwide and put the 30-year-old Catroux on the design map.
As an inside designer, Catroux began with the staples of sixties design, Plexiglas and metal – however shortly moved to pure supplies, wooden, leather-based and cotton, mixing the trendy and comfy with conventional furnishings and artwork.
Whereas largely unknown to most of the people, he shortly turned the decorator of alternative for aristocrats, royals and the tremendous rich. He earned plaudits for mixing outdated, such because the Rothschild’s seventeenth century tapestries, work by the masters and heritage furnishings, with fashionable designs of his personal invention.
For Von Furstenberg, a longtime buddy, and her husband, Barry Diller, he designed homes in Los Angeles and Connecticut, in addition to the inside of their luxurious yacht.
He met Betty, whom he described as a “dwelling model” for YSL, when she despatched him a drink in Régines, the place she additionally met Saint Laurent. The couple married in 1968.
The Belgian designer Anthony Vaccarello, now the inventive director of Saint Laurent, instructed the New York Instances: “Betty likes to say she was the bipolar double of Saint Laurent, which is a classy and elusive manner of expressing their twinning. By means of her, he was capable of give life to his imaginative and prescient. Because of him, she was capable of develop into herself.”
The sale of the contents of the couple’s Riviera residence, overseen by Sotheby’s, consists of about 100 tons reflecting François Catroux’s private style, together with modern artworks and gadgets from Asia and Africa, in addition to some of his personal creations.
Florent Jeanniard, European head of design and vice-president of Sotheby’s France, mentioned the Catroux’s residence was an “unmatched setting”. “Right here, works by nice modern artists and cutting-edge designers mingled with timeless antiques that the decorator treasured for his complete life. He cherished this place and it suited him,” he mentioned.
Jeanniard added: “All the pieces you see contained in the condo is up for sale. The wonderful factor is that this chic place is Catroux … it was his final nice work.
“François needed to finish his days within the solar in order that they purchased this condo and he designed every thing in it. This place and every thing in it’s François Catroux’s universe. It was virtually completed when he turned unwell in order that they by no means lived there aside from just a few nights. After he died, it turned too painful for Betty to go there, so the household has determined to promote it.
“Catroux was greatest identified in France and america the place he had many consumers, however was not a well known title to many individuals. Nonetheless, he was no doubt one of a very powerful decorators of the twenty first century and we imagine this sale will probably be a tribute to him.”