Away from the buzz of Paris Déco Off and Maison & Objet, the only evening off
A-Gent of Style managed to get was on Sunday when he, like one million or so French cinema-goers in the last fortnight, went to see the Yves Saint Laurent movie, the first of two French biopics to be released this year. And A-Gent though it was
un chef d’oeuvre. Do see it when it is released in your country or on DVD.

Loosely based on the Laurence Benaim’s biography and approved by Pierre Bergé, Yves Saint Laurent, directed by Jalil Lespert, recounts the passionate and turbulent life of one of the most famous French couturiers, whose work was heavily influenced by his personal life and traces the events of the precocious talent who took over from his mentor, Christian Dior, in 1957, when he was only 21 from the beginning of his career in 1958 when he met his lover and business partner, Pierre Bergé until the designer’s death in 2008 (the movie focuses mainly though on the 1950s, 60s and 70s). Their relationship somehow mirrors Valentino Garavani and Giancarlo Giammetti’s who together also created an iconic fashion house, amassed an incredible art collection and sustained a personal relationship for over 50 years. You can see A-Gent of Style‘s feature of Giammetti’s latest New York apartment here.

Actor Pierre Niney, boundless talent of the Comédie française (the French equivalent of the RSC, more or less) doesn’t play Yves Saint Laurent so much as embody him.
His performance is riveting and impeccable. The movie is intimate, insightful and entertaining. Wait to see a young Karl Lagerfeld mingling with Saint Laurent’s muses, Loulou de la Falaise and Betty Cattroux (interestingly enough, Catherine Deneuve is not featured). And the physical similarities between the actors and the actual persons are sometimes uncanny (Now, A-Gent of Style is very much aware that his adoration for Hamish Bowles – see the last post – is worryingly turning into an obsession but don’t you think he looks very much like Monsieur Saint Laurent?! The lanky figure, the floppy hair, the black-rimmed spectacles and of course la mode??).

The other show-stopping factors of the film are the visually sumptuous interiors.
Be it Saint Laurent’s childhood mansion in Oran, Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé’s Paris apartment or their villa in Les Jardins de Majorelle in Marrakesh, the décors are ravishing and breathtaking. Whilst they are not faithfully accurate, they certainly capture the spirit of the museum-quality objets d’art the A-Gay couple surrounded themselves with over five decades.

AD France has just featured new photographs of the arts patrons and aesthetes’s nine-room duplex apartment at 55 rue de Babylone, on Paris’s Left Bank,
one of the superlative interiors of the 20th century. After Saint Laurent’s death,
his and Bergé’s interiors were auctioned and sold at Christie’s in 2009 for an astounding $484 million—the Eileen Gray ‘Dragon’ chair alone brought just over
$28 million. It is still referred today as ‘the sale of the century’.
You can judge by yourselves here:

In the Grand Salon, the two main paintings, 'Composition dans l'Usine' (1918) and 'Le Profil Noir' (1928) are by Fernand Leger.  Lacquered vases by Jean Dunand on eithe risde of the sofa. On the left, De Chirico's 'Le Revenant', on the right, Leger's 'Le Damier Jaune'. An 'Africaniste' stool in the foreground is by Pierre Legrain

In the Grand Salon, the two main paintings, ‘Composition dans l’Usine’ (1918) and ‘Le Profil Noir’ (1928) are by Fernand Leger. Lacquered vases by Jean Dunand on either side of the sofa. On the left, De Chirico’s ‘Le Revenant’, on the right, Leger’s ‘Le Damier Jaune’. Two pairs of armchairs by Jean-Michel Frank and an ‘Africaniste’ stool in the foreground is by Pierre Legrain


Two cabinets by Adam Weisweiler, on the left, De Chirico's La Bombe de l'Anarchiste (1914) and Vuillard's 'Marie reveuse et sa mere' (1892). On the right, Munch's 'Bord de Mer' (1898) and 'Les Coucous, tapis bleu et rose' (1911) by Matisse. On the iconic 'Fauteuil aux Dragons' by Eileen Gray

In the background, two cabinets by Adam Weisweiler, on the left, De Chirico’s La Bombe de l’Anarchiste (1914) and Vuillard’s ‘Marie reveuse et sa mere’ (1892). On the right, Munch’s ‘Bord de Mer’ (1898) and ‘Les Coucous, tapis bleu et rose’ (1911) by Matisse. In the foreground, on the left, (half of) the iconic ‘Fauteuil aux Dragons’ by Eileen Gray


Two senoufo sculptures from the Ivory Coast, a chair and a bird, in front of Sir Burne-Jones' 'Les Rivieres du Paradis' (1875).

Two senoufo sculptures from the Ivory Coast, a chair and a bird, in front of Sir Burne-Jones’ ‘Les Rivieres du Paradis’ (1875)


Column in terracotta by Ernest Boiceau, English chair (anonymous) and a drawing by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Column in gilded terracotta by Ernest Boiceau, English chair (anonymous) and a drawing by Dante Gabriel Rossetti


15th C 'Cabbage Leaf' Flanders tapestry, Aloes lamp by Albert Cheuret circa 1920s, and silver-gilt and ivory objets d'art

15th C ‘Cabbage Leaf’ Flanders tapestry, Aloes lamp by Albert Cheuret circa 1920s, and silver-gilt and ivory objets d’art


Detail of 'Tenture des Nouvelles Indes'

Detail of ‘Tenture des Nouvelles Indes’


In the Salon de Musique, the mirrors adorned with branches are by Claude Lalanne and reflect gilted and bronze vases from the 17th C on a lacquered  sideboard by Eileen Gray

In the Salon de Musique, the mirrors adorned with branches are by Claude Lalanne and reflect gilted and bronze vases from the 17th C on a lacquered sideboard by Eileen Gray


Bronze tall vase by Jean Dunand

Bronze tall vase by Jean Dunand. Glossy, lacquered bitter chocolate walls


In the dining room, an Art Deco table surounded by 18th C gilted cahirs. German mirror from Louix XV and tapestry panels from Louis XIV

In the dining room, an Art Deco table surrounded by 18th C Italian Rococo gilted chairs. German mirror from Louix XV and tapestry panels from Louis XIV


Lacquered gold and red Bhudda in timber from the Ming dynasty, 16th C, the 'cabinet de curiosites' designed by Jacques Grange

Lacquered gold and red Bhudda in timber from the Ming dynasty, 16th C; ‘cabinet de curiosites’ designed by Jacques Grange


Gardens with a Roman marble 'Minotaur', 1st-2nd C BC

Gardens with a Roman marble ‘Minotaur’, 1st-2nd C BC


– Photos of interiors by AD France –



Art and champagne. Two of A-Gent of Style‘s favourite things merging together. Heaven.

Contemporary American artist Jeff Koons has teamed up with legendary French luxury champagne maker Dom Pérignon to produce a scaled-down version of his stupendous Balloon Venus sculpture.

Balloon Venus

Balloon Venus


In tainted high chromium stainless steel with transparent color coating dress, the special edition sculpture  – only 650 hundreds specimens were created – of this collaborative project houses a bottle of the Rosé Vintage 2003 preciously cradled and guarded by its 2 ft. tall, voluptuous encasement, a modern-day,
goddess-of-wine Venus.

“The gift box was designed by Jeff Koons himself, for both Dom Pérignon Vintage 2004 and Dom Pérignon Rosé Vintage 2003”, explains Dom Pérignon, “with a careful all-embracing conception of the outside and the inside facets. The outside reproduces on a dark background the Balloon Venus for Dom Pérignon matching their colour with the cuvée: pink for the Rosé and yellow for the Blanc. A view of the artist’s studio is visible on the reflective surface of the Balloon Venus and refers to the creative energy of the artist. The image is underlined by Jeff Koons’ signature. From the outside, the gift box extends the feeling of being in the presence of Balloon Venus, as the reproduction sets à 360° view of the object.
The gift box opens to expose the bottle, unveiling first an elaborate design that simulates the iridescent interior of the original sculpture made of high chromium stainless steel with transparent colour coating dress. The iconic Dom Pérignon bottle erupts, exactly as it does from the body of the Balloon Venus
for Dom Pérignon, magnifying the revelation.”

“The bottle foils give a pop-twist to the colour of its cuvée, Dom Pérignon Blanc or Rosé, interpreting the tension between the colours and the dark bottle” adds Koons. “It bears a metallic shield with the same colour layout as the foil and the box. The label plays with coloured surface on the depth of shield, emphasizing its allure, playful and still mysterious.”


“‘Dom Pérignon by Jeff Koons’ prolongs the encounter between Dom Pérignon and Jeff Koons”, explains the prestige house’s chef de cave, Richard Geoffroy. “After creating the Balloon Venus for Dom Pérignon Rosé, Jeff Koons transposed its creation and re-designed the iconic codes of Dom Pérignon’s bottle and gift box, by taking inspiration from the shapes and colours of Balloon Venus. This Limited Edition is the ultimate expression of the fruitful collaboration based on absolute shared vision of the power of creation and of collaboration.” 

For the collaborative project, the sculpture with a bottle of champagne will set you back $20,000 USD, ahem, a pop – a bargain considering Koons’s twelve-foot stainless steel sculpture “Balloon Dog” sold for $58.4 million (£36.8m) at an auction at Christie’s in New York two weeks ago, making it the most expensive piece of art by a living artist sold at auction.

 “Venus of Willendorf”, a, 11cm high palaeolithic figurine found in Austria in 1908, dating back to around 23, 000 years BC considered to be one of the earliest known depictions of the human form “proposes a new kind of idol, a modern-day goddess of love who embraces her beholder in reflective curves and suggests fecundity and creation”,  Koons explains. “It’s both masculine and feminine. Well, if you look at the inside – it’s like a Rorschach, but you can pick up on some of the masculine elements, even the shape of the bottle there, and if you look at the Balloon Venus from the front, it’s so fertile.”


A pop-up shop was specially created in the Assouline bookshop in Claridge’s where the highly collectable took centre stage. A-Gent of Style was dazzled by this explosion of neon pop shocking pink, a true feast for the eyes, heightening the artist’s trademark creative verve and the creative collision.


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For the ‘sweetie dahlings’ amongst us, two less lavish and more accessible limited-edition gift boxes were also created with the Rosé Vintage 2003 and
the Blanc Vintage 2004 going for £330 and £155, respectively,
available at Harvey Nichs.

“Being creative is trying to expand what the possibilities are”,
says Jeff Koons. “Within the gift boxes, we discover, with an exceptional playfulness and intensity, two Vintages of the year: Dom Pérignon 2004—intense, elegant and radiant—and Dom Pérignon Rosé 2003—vibrant, seductive and infringing.
A promise of a both divine and profane experience.”


Cheers! and happy Friday!


“They are not furniture, they are not sculpture – call them ‘Lalannes.”

– Claude Lalanne –

“The supreme art is the art of living.”

– François-Xavier Lalanne –

Rhinos, hippos, alligators, apes, monkeys, bulls, bears, hares, chickens, sheep…

 Fret not. A-Gent of Style doesn’t house a ménagerie at home.

A collection of wild and domestic animals is currently on show at Sotheby’s
in New York but instead of being alive, running free or even stuffed, they are in fact part of Les Lalanne: The Poetry of Sculpture, a selling exhibition organised by the auction house featuring whimsical works by Claude and François-Xavier Lalanne, hosted in the New York S|2 private sales gallery from 31 October
through 22 November 2013.

The French artist couple’s most iconic and sought-after works chosen and curated by Paul Kasmin, a long-time gallerist of the duo, and Michael Shvo, an avid collector of the works, are exhibited in a space transformed into a “midnight garden and thereby evoke the surrealist sculptors’ magical world in which their life and art were intertwined since the 1960’s.”

If you believe in François-Xavier’s credo “The supreme art is the art of living”, then the pieces below currently up for grab at Sotheby’s might be for you; some of them, including their signature curly sheep, date back to the 1990s whilst others were created in the last decade and a few were made by Claude Lalanne in the last few years. You can view the full listing here. Desperate to be in New York now doesn’t even start to describe how A-Gent of Style feels at the moment.

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The 89-year-old Claude Lalanne, whose age hasn’t slowed (she goes to her Ury studio every day starting at 8 a.m), attended last month the opening reception at Sotheby’s with Michael Shvo (François-Xavier Lalanne died in 2008).

Michael Shvo and Claude Lalanne

Michael Shvo and Claude Lalanne

Throughout the decades, Lalanne’s surrealist and mischievous objets have always been prized and appreciated by collectors but in recent years, they have been appearing in many gallery and museum shows and major design auctions.
The latest and largest gathering of Lalannes was the retrospective
at Le Musée des Arts Décoratifs in 2010 in Paris.

A Rhino screen designed by Claude and François-Xavier Lalanne made an appearance at PAD a few weeks ago at the Galerie Jean-David Botella.

This sale will be no exception and prices are most likely to go through the roof.
The estimates ranging from $20,000 to $1.5 million will probably top the sky-high prices Lalannes generally command. In 2008, the year of François-Xavier’s death, one of his sheep stools sold for more than double the estimate, at $158,50.
On December 2012 in New York, a pair of Lalanne sheep stool sculptures sell for $542,500. And in December 2011, a group of ten sheep, “Mouton de Pierre” designed circa 1979, sold for $7.5 million at Christie’s New York.

Crocodile Banquette, a gilt-bronze and copper crocodile bench designed
by Claude Lalanne in 2008, was sold by Christie’s for $482,500 in December 2009.

Kasmin-Shvo also curated another show in New York featuring Lalanne works called ‘The Sheep Station’ on display at a former Getty station turned grass station in Chelsea, Manhattan, where twenty-five life -size sculptures of the iconic epoxy stone and bronze “Moutons” of Francois-Xavier Lalanne grazed.
Claude Lalanne also attended the opening party which took place on the grass. The show, which ended last week, is the first of a series of installations on the site that has been dubbed Getty Station. It must have been quite a scene to turn the corner of a block and suddenly see this faux pastoral landscape.

Claude and François-Xavier met in 1952 and started their working collaboration in 1956. They both shared a passion for animals and nature; their first exhibition in 1964 was called “Zoophites”. Until François-Xavier’s death, the inseparable couple always worked and exhibited together. They have often been regarded as a single entity hence their moniker ‘Les Lalanne’ (family names don’t take the plural form in French) but seldom collaborated on a piece of work.

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Generally speaking, Claude’s works tend to be inspired by botanicals and are therefore delicate and intricate sometimes baroque; they are on the cusp of fine art and decorative art and can be used as jewellery, furniture and silverware. She uses traditional casting techniques with contemporary electroplating methods.

Her equally inventive late husband François-Xavier, on the other hand, was inspired by wild, hefty animals like the hippopotamus or the rhinoceros and was influenced by ancient Egyptian sculptures. He crafted more weighty, stylized forms using big metal sheets to emphasize his animals’ scale.

The duo always remained true and faithful to their aesthetic tenets and never embraced the various popular movements du moment such as Pop Art and abstraction. Les Lalanne’s world is a realm where Surrealism, Nouveau Réalisme and anthropomorphism merge, where each and every living organism and creation is playful, whimsical and unique and combines the decorative and fine arts. Functionality is also key: their objects can be touched, used, sat or eaten on or even sometimes slept in.

From the 1960s onwards, Les Lalanne captivated a whole generation and soon had a cult following among notable private collectors around the world who either bought their works or even commissioned them bespoke projects. Fashion luminaries such as Coco Chanel, Hubert de Givenchy, Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé,
Karl Lagerfeld, Valentino and more recently Marc Jacobs, John Galliano, Tom Ford and François Pinault are some of the Lalanne’s biggest collecting fans.

Coco Chanel in her Paris apartment, rue Cambon

Coco Chanel in her Paris apartment, rue Cambon


    Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Berge

Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Berge


Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Berge

Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Berge





Marc Jabos Paris apartment

Marc Jabobs Paris apartment


Tom Ford Madison Avenue flagship lalanne

Tom Ford Madison Avenue flagship, New York


By Peter Marino

By Peter Marino

In 1969, the Lalannes collaborated with Yves Saint Laurent for one of his collections: they designed moulded bronze breastplates and bustiers that served as the bodice of a gown for the model Veruschka, three decades before Jean-Paul Gaultier’s conical bras for HR Madgeness.

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In 1976, Serge Gainsbourg notoriously named one of his most successful albums  L’Homme à Tête de Chou (literally The Man with the Cabbage Head) after acquiring a sculpture by Claude Lalanne which Gainsbourg featured on the album cover.

Today, it is not uncommon to come across in design publications
Lalanne flora-and-fauna pieces of art in the elegant and eclectic homes of serious collectors. A-Gent of Style always finds it entertaining to be able to spot a Lalanne – or a Polar Bear as a matter of fact.

Reed-Krakoff apartment, New York, designed by Pamplemousse Design

Reed-Krakoff’s apartment, New York, designed by Delphine Krakoff of Pamplemousse Design. Spot the Lalanne, spot the Polar Bear


By Jean-Louis Deniot

By Jean-Louis Deniot


By Peter Marino, FAIA

By Peter Marino


By Brian McCarthy

By Brian McCarthy


Carla Fendi’s Roman apartment


The latest monograph on Les Lalanne was published in 2007 and authored by two long-standing Lalanne devotees, the architect Peter Marino and Reed Krakoff, President and Executive Creative Director of Coach and husband of the talented Delphine Krakoff of Pamplemousse Design.

By Rose Anne de Pampelonne

By Rose Anne de Pampelonne


Claude Lalanne, Peter Marino and Michael Shvo

Claude Lalanne, Peter Marino and Michael Shvo

Chic sheep are not cheap!

Some of the Lalanne sheep were also featured last month in A-Gent of Style‘s retrospective for The Campaign for Wool.

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