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As their personal collection goes under the hammer, we look back at the stylish lives of 1970s It-couple Betty and Francios Catroux – Yves Saint Laurent’s reluctant muse and her interior design star husband

As the personal collection of 1970s It-couple Betty and François Catroux is put up for sale, we look back at the stylish lives of a woman who reluctantly inspired Yves Saint Laurent’s gender-fluid designs and her interior designer husband

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Betty Catroux, model and muse of Yves Saint Laurent pictured outside his first London Rive Gauche store on New Bond Street, London, opening day, 10th September 1969. Photo: Beverley Goodway/Mirrorpix/Getty Images

Betty Catroux, model and muse of Yves Saint Laurent pictured outside his first London Rive Gauche store on New Bond Street, London, opening day, 10th September 1969. Photo: Beverley Goodway/Mirrorpix/Getty Images

Francois Catroux and his wife Betty attend The Ballet National de Paris Opening Season Gala at Opera Garnier on September 24, 2015 in Paris, France. Photo: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Francois Catroux and his wife Betty attend The Ballet National de Paris Opening Season Gala at Opera Garnier on September 24, 2015 in Paris, France. Photo: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Betty Catroux, left, and Loulou de la Falaise with Yves Saint Laurent outside his Rive Gauche boutique in London in September 1969.

Betty Catroux, left, and Loulou de la Falaise with Yves Saint Laurent outside his Rive Gauche boutique in London in September 1969.

Francois Catroux designer of an exhibition celebrating 300 years of the Paris Opera looks on as Danielle Fouache curates some of the jewels featured, in 1991. Photo: Robert Pearce/Fairfax Media via Getty Images

Francois Catroux designer of an exhibition celebrating 300 years of the Paris Opera looks on as Danielle Fouache curates some of the jewels featured, in 1991. Photo: Robert Pearce/Fairfax Media via Getty Images

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Betty Catroux, model and muse of Yves Saint Laurent pictured outside his first London Rive Gauche store on New Bond Street, London, opening day, 10th September 1969. Photo: Beverley Goodway/Mirrorpix/Getty Images

“I never cared about it or understood this fascination with me.” So said Betty Catroux, model, muse, icon, in response to the near-obsession she generated among designers, most particularly Yves Saint Laurent — whose inspiration she was for decades (incidentally, she rejected the word ‘muse’ totally. “I hate the word,” she once said) — but also Tom Ford, who dedicated his first Saint Laurent Rive Gauche collection to her; He di Slimane, who cited Betty when designing menswear; and Anthony Vaccarello, the current creative director of Saint Laurent.

Photographers including Helmut Newton and Irving Penn have repeatedly tried to capture her angular, androgynous beauty on film, and news that the collection belonging to Betty and her husband François, from their Riviera apartment, is to be sold at auction by Sotheby’s on February 24 has excited a whole lot of fuss.


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