The art world suffered a great loss this week with the death of Francois Xavior Lalanne at the age of 81. Lalanne's prolific career spanned more than half a century. His surrealist sculptures that sometimes doubled as furniture could be wonderfully decadent or subtly demure. One thing was constant - they brought beauty to the world. Known for his portrayal of animals, most often sheep the artist had a strong international following. In recent years the pieces emerged in fashion boutiques around the world. Tom Ford's NY boutique prominently positioned a bronze crocodile "chair" that greeted every visitor and caught the eye of every passerby. In Beverly Hills, a delicate stag sculpture recreated the decor of Coco Chanel's apartment in the newly renovated fine jewelry boutique of the Parisian house. Speaking of Paris, more pieces decorated the new Dior store there. While Yves Saint Laurent himself collected Lalanne, the recent design house fans were steered by architect Peter Marino. Marino who himself has gotten more attention lately for his personal re-invention a la Thierry Mugler circa 1990 or Mr. Eagle Bar, is the man responsible for the look of Chanel, Valentino, & Dior Boutiques worldwide. He is an avid Lalanne collector and is said to have the largest personal collection of the artist in the world.
I had the pleasure of meeting Claude and Francois last year at the re-opening of the Chanel boutique in Beverly Hills. They were striking as a couple and had the room mesmerized by their presence. Deepest sympathies to Claude Lalanne.