“One hundred years after my death, I will rest, my fortune made.”
– Jean Cocteau –

Fame and recognition did not take as long as that. Fifty years after Jean Cocteau’s death, Roche Bobois, the high-end contemporary French furniture company, has the privilege to have been entrusted by the Jean Cocteau Committee – chaired by Pierre Bergé, who holds the exclusive moral rights to Jean Cocteau’s work, one of his best friends – with the responsibility of creating a new collection around a man celebrated as one of the greatest French artists of his time.

The meticulously crafted range includes cushions, bed linen, throws, lampshades and upholstery, and also rugs, thereby adding an original dimension to the works. The result is a range of fine quality accessories whose motifs and patterns blend art with decoration.

Pierre Berge

Pierre Berge

Jean Cocteau (1889-1963) was a multi-disciplinary protean artist: he was a poet, a novelist, a designer, a painter, a playwright, a choreographer, a scenographer, a film director, a scriptwriter, an actor, a publisher, a journalist and a radio personality who embraced creativity in all its forms and embarked on a prolific career.

The ethereal genius was part of the French and international glitterati circles and counted as some of his close friends Pablo Picasso, Jean Marais (his long-time partner),
Henri Bernstein, Yul Brynner, Marlene Dietrich, Coco Chanel, Erik Satie, Igor Stravinsky, Sergei Diaghilev, Édith Piaf, Amedeo Modigliani, Maurice Ravel, Madeleine Castaing and Jeanne Moreau.
In 1955 Cocteau was made a Member of the Académie française and Commander of the Legion d’Honneur, the highest accolades bestowed by the French government.

Cocteau is best remembered for his plays and movies La Belle et la Bête
(Beauty and the Beast
), Les Parents Terribles (The Storm Within), Orphée
(Orpheus) and Le Testament d’Orphée (The Testament of Orpheus) but also his ceramics which circulate today in antiques fairs (last spotted by A-Gent of Style this year at Lapada).

This collection shows several of Cocteau’s facets. With inimitable elegance,
Jean Cocteau created a body of work that is considered today to be of great importance. The Roche Bobois collection reminds us of the strength and contemporaneity of his work. Thanks to these magnificent decorative objects, Jean Cocteau’s epitaph “I stay with you” is truer than ever.

The various objects demonstrate the extraordinarily expressive range of one of France’s most distinctive artists of the 20th century and Roche Bobois has given these works a new lease of life and brought Jean Cocteau once again to the attention of the world.

When Jean Cocteau worked on a fresco or ceramic, he spoke of tattooing walls or clay. Roche Bobois has approached the creative development of this new collection, composed mainly of textile accessories, in similar spirit. Using print, embroidery and a mix of techniques, the makers of this new collection have managed to capture the distinctive spontaneity of Cocteau’s original drawings and manuscripts.
 The designs represent a direct continuation of the work of an artist who had explored the area of decoration himself, as seen in his ceramics and the frescoes of Villa Santo Sospir аt Saint Jean Cap Ferrat.

“I’m neither designer nor painter; my designs are writings untangled then re-tangled differently.” Jean Cocteau.

Referencing these pictorial and poetic designs within textiles seems like a natural progression. The extent of the collection’s range allows for a harmonious scale and Cocteau’s sketches and drawings lend themselves perfectly to the patterns that adorn these expertly woven rugs and embroidered cushions. A charming assortment of faces in silhouette, colours and words distil the essence of the poet’s artistic and convivial spirit.


A hint is even made to the artist’s indiscretions via the motifs on the bed linen inspired by his intimate sketches of people sleeping.

“… Picasso told me that once I’d put clay in a kiln, I’d be lost to it forever. The thing is, I’ve always had a taste for losing myself with delight.”

Executed between 1957 and 1963 by the Madeline-Jolly pottery workshop in Ville Franche-sur-Mer, Cocteau’s ceramics develop themes dear to him. Cocteau described their ornamentation as a form of tattoo and developed novel techniques, such as using an oxide pencil, for applying his markings.

Roche Bobois turned to one of the few potters capable of faithfully reproducing the pieces of the original edition. One of them sourced the same colours of clay, used precisely the same quantities of engobe and enamel and employed the same traditional methods of glazing and firing. The one difference is that he applied some details prior to firing, rather than after, for the purposes of preservation. The reissue of these ceramics are presented as a limited and numbered series, as befits a collection that can truly be described as ‘artworks.


And last but not least, A-Gent of Style’s favourite items: the lacquer trays, square with «Face and profile» or rounded with ‘Wing’.
The square, taupe one for A-Gent please.




$33.7 million

  is the price of the now most expensive rug but also piece of furniture in the world. The 17th C Clark Sickle-Leaf Persian rug sold at the Corcoran Gallery of Art’s carpet and rug auction held by Sotheby’s in New York City this week.

  It therefore knocks off the c.1917 Eileen Gray “Dragons” chair that belonged to Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé which sold for $27.8 million at the 2009 Christie’s auction.

What recession?!










Last summer, Yves Saint Laurent (YSL) changed its iconic name after almost 50 years. The luxury French fashion house decided to discard the letter Y (for Yves) and rename itself “Saint Laurent Paris”.

I must have been living under a rock because I was completely unaware of this until I saw at the weekend an advert in a magazine with the ‘Saint Laurent’ logo.
It frankly puzzled me. Is this a new brand? Trying to compete with “Yves Saint Laurent”, this mammoth of fashion? How daring! How foolish! Or could it be a re-branding from YSL? But why? What would be the point? YSL does not need to be cool! Surely, Pierre Bergé wouldn’t have allowed that! Wouldn’t it be the equivalent of sartorial self-mutilation? And what would the late Yves Saint Laurent think of it if he were still alive?

Yves Saint Laurent

Yves Saint Laurent

Pierre Berge & Hedi Slimane

Pierre Berge & Hedi Slimane

What was heralded as a ‘monumental change’ was part of the then-recently appointed creative director Hedi Slimane’s rebranding strategy. His plans are to “restore the house to its truth, purity and essence using similar fonts from that time period.” and to give Saint Laurent a cooler, edgier, more ‘rock ‘n roll’ look. Courtney Love has now joined rocker Marilyn Manson for the latest Saint Laurent campaign shot by Hedi Slimane.

Courtney Love

Courtney Love

Marylin Manson

Marylin Manson

What looked like an insignificant and trivial change (“For the life of Dior, it’s just a letter!!!” some cried) divided the fashion world and caused huge debate and even ire amongst some die-hard fashionistas last summer at the anticipated reveal of the retro logo.

Slimane was ‘anointed’ Creative Director for Yves Saint Laurent last year, replacing Stefano Pilati (do you remember Anna Wintour in the September Issue going to the YSL headquarters in Paris to see previews of his new collection and asking him, politely, curtly and a tad disdainfully (close your eyes, imagine the hair bob and the dark sunnies) “I don’t see real evening on that rack, are you not doing any?” and “So, you’re not really feeling for colours!?”. Ouch. And off with his head…) after he filled in Tom Ford’s big shoes. (NB: Stefano Pilati is now
at the hem helm of Ermenegildo Zegna.)

YSL is one of the most recognizable logos in the fashion world. It was designed originally by the illustrator A.M Cassandre in 1963 the same year the company was launched by a young French designer called Yves Henri Donat Mathieu-Saint Laurent and his partner Pierre Bergé. Interestingly, when the first boutique opened in 1966 on 21 rue de Tournon in Paris, the ready-to-wear line was called Saint Laurent Rive Gauche. Consequently, “Saint Laurent Paris” is not a far cry from the original name.

Saint Laurent Rive Gauche store in 1966

Saint Laurent Rive Gauche store in 1966

Saint Laurent Rive Gauche’s original logo reproduced for the retrospective in Paris in 2011

Saint Laurent Rive Gauche’s original logo reproduced for the retrospective in Paris in 2011

And if you are a traditionalist, don’t fret too much because the company still operates under the name Yves Saint Laurent for the Haute Couture, as will its beauty and perfume lines licensed by L’Oréal.

‘Saint Laurent Paris’ is making its debut for spring/summer 2013 when the collection hits the stores.

‘Just Saying’ Post-script – 14/04/13. Did you see the article in today Sunday Times’ Style magazine about Hedi Slimane’s Revolution not Evolution at Saint Laurent??


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