François Catroux, Decorator of Choice for Aristocrats, Dies at 83

François Catroux, a glamorous designer for the Rothschilds, Russian oligarchs, Greek and Arab princesses, vogue designers, media moguls and South American billionaires — what was once often known as the jet set — died on Nov. eight in Paris. He was 83.

His demise, in a hospital, was brought on by a mind tumor, his spouse, Betty Catroux, mentioned.

Mr. Catroux was movie-star good-looking with a perennial tan and a style for costly sports activities vehicles, the grandson of a famous French common and a Spanish heiress, and a highschool good friend of Yves Saint Laurent. Along along with his spouse, Ms. Catroux, the lanky androgyne magnificence who was Mr. Saint Laurent’s muse and playmate, he was at the middle of Paris’s glittering 1970s-era social scene, an advanced fantasia at which artwork, vogue and cash collided.

Algerian-born and self-taught, Mr. Catroux had a classy eye, and his first design job, in 1967, when he was 30, was for Mila Schön, a stalwart of Italian vogue. She requested him to design her showroom in a Milanese palazzo.

He turned it right into a white laminate spaceship, Stanley Kubrick by means of Eero Saarinen, “a futuristic, minimalistic theater in the round for fashion — exactly right for the times,” the inside designer and author David Netto wrote in a 2016 monograph about Mr. Catroux, “delivered by an ingénue, and it caused a sensation in the design world.”

So did the condo Mr. Catroux shared with Ms. Catroux on the Quai de Béthune, a neo-futuristic playground comprised of vinyl, leather-based, plexiglass and metal. It was photographed by Horst P. Horst for Vogue in 1970, with the couple dressed, fairly terrifyingly, in matching Saint Laurent khaki and sprawled on a vinyl banquette.

“My apartment happened during the French revolutionary year of 1968,” Mr. Catroux advised Mr. Netto, “when everybody was towards all the pieces — and with out realizing it myself, I used to be towards all the pieces too. Against issues, so for two years I assumed solely of volumes and ranges, with none furnishings … cushions as a substitute of a settee, a dice for a espresso desk … ”

“It was a boule de neige — it snowballed from there,” Mr. Catroux told James Reginato of Vanity Fair. “Voilà, my career started.”

For Diane von Furstenberg, a friend of five decades, and her husband, Barry Diller, he designed houses in Los Angeles and Connecticut, as well as their megayacht, Eos.

“He had that military side, so things were very precise and symmetrical; he liked things in pairs,” Ms. Von Furstenberg said in a phone interview. “But everything was very cozy, too — that very grand coziness, which was never pretentious, a luxury just for you, not to show off.”

In addition to his wife, Mr. Catroux is survived by their daughters, Maxime and Daphné, and two grandchildren.

Mr. Catroux met Ms. Catroux at a nightclub in Paris after she had the bartender send him a drink; she met Mr. Saint Laurent the same way, though in that case it was he who had sent her a drink. She often said that she was very clever in managing both men.

While Ms. Catroux and Mr. Saint Laurent careened in and out of trouble for decades — their shared benders and stints in rehabs were renowned — Mr. Catroux was at work every day, bright and early.

“The truth is, it was a huge love affair,” Mr. Netto said. “She was this mysterious person who could not be captured, and he was perfect for her because he didn’t need that from her. I think he just adored her cat power. He was devoted to her, and she set the terms.”

Said Mr. Cox, “They were like Adam and Eve, the eternal couple.”

Mr. Catroux told Mr. Reginato of Vanity Fair in 2016” “I knew she was the one for me immediately. If I missed this one, there was nobody else. I couldn’t miss this one. We’ve been together for 50 years. No regrets. But she’s not something … normal. She’s a special case.”

Ms. Catroux would agree.

“I’m not interested in fashion, and I’m not interested in design, and I got the two geniuses on the subject,” she said in a phone interview. “I could live in an empty room as long as there was a bottle of wine and good music. But I know what’s beautiful. I was so lucky. It’s been a fairy tale life.”

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