In a moment of solitude amid the hustle and bustle of Paris fashion week, Minnie Muse sat down with Moujik Saint Laurent, the “I prefer to not reveal my age” French Bulldog belonging to the late and great couturier Yves Saint Laurent. Moujik welcomed us to his Rive Gauche home for afternoon tea – which he revealed he also does monthly with French actress Catherine Deneuve – to discuss his father’s enduring legacy, which Lalanne piece was commissioned for him as a gift for his first birthday, how he spent his days vacationing and entertaining in Marrakesh in the 1970s, and why Yves would not approve of his latest guilty pleasure – rap music. Read highlights below from our latest Designer Dog interview…
Owner: Yves Saint Laurent
Breed: French Bulldog
Instagram Handle: N/A
Instagram Followers: N/A
Minnie Muse: Bonjour Moujik, it is so wonderful to meet you! Thank you for inviting me in to your beautiful home. You seem to have quite an eye for interiors and love of design. Can you tell me a bit about some of these objects in your living room? Do you have a favorite piece?
Moujik Saint Laurent: Oui! When papa was alive he commissioned our dear friends Claude and François-Xavier Lalanne to design me a custom commode for my first birthday. It is based on their bronze and copper Hippopotame II (bar) from the 1970s, but instead of a hippopotamus it is in the shape of a French bulldog, like moi! There are secret compartments where I hide my toys, treats and drinking bowls.
MM: What a thoughtful gift. And who designed the daybed on which you are lounging?
MSL: Ahh yes, the chaise longue is by the late French architect Pierre Legrain and it once belonged to designer Jacques Doucet, who happened to be the first owner of Picasso’s masterpiece ‘Les Demoiselles d’Avignon’. He and papa shared in their love of African-inspired art and design.
MM: You, too, seem very knowledgeable. What was it like to grow up surrounded by such beauty? Was there anything in your father’s collection that you didn’t necessarily approve of?
MSL: In our Paris apartment growing up he had a Ptolemaic Egyptian sarcophagus casually standing between a pair of Louis XIII–era armchairs. I loved napping on the chairs, but as a puppy the sarcophagus really freightened me!
MM: And when you are not in Paris, where would you say is your favorite place to travel?
MSL: I am too old now to travel, but when I was younger I would always accompany papa to our home in Marrakesh. It is such a great place for adventuring and seeking inspiration. I have the fondest memories of sitting alongside papa as he sketched collections, or exploring the Majorelle Gardens in the afternoon, and entertaining friends at our home in the evening.
MM: Were you involved in your father’s work? Did he seek your approval when designing?
MSL: Oh yes, I would accompany him to the atelier everyday in Paris. I loved the energy that went in to creating each collection. From our moments of solitude in Marrakesh, to research trips around the world, and finally, the chaos of fitting models and working through the night before each presentation – I got to experience everything firsthand.
MM: Do you have a favorite collection?
MSL: Too many to name, but one that stands out in particular is Papa’s “Ballet Russes” collection for fall/winter 1976. I loved the rich textures, deep jewel tones, elaborate materials, and the styling of each look. It was a team effort between papa, myself, and Betty Catroux and Loulou de la Falaise – his two muses.
MM: Were you close with them?
MSL: Very much so. Aunt Betty is my godmother and she would always take me on long strolls around the neighborhood when she visited the atelier. We would always get the strangest looks from people, as if they didn’t understand why a leggy blonde in thigh-high boots and a safari tunic was walking a pudgy dog like myself. My diet at the time probably didn’t help…
MM: What was your diet? Surely your father didn’t condone too many carbohydrates?
MSL: Quite the opposite, actually. There were always the most delicious French pastries lying around the atelier, which everyone would feed to me throughout the day. That is where I developed my love for fresh croissants!
MM: Tell me more about your days at the atelier… Do you miss it?
MSL: I most definitely miss it. I loved reviewing sketches on the floor with papa, or lying at his feet a he worked tirelessly at his desk. His office was so inspiring, cluttered with racks of samples, rolls of fabric, photographs, objects from our travels, and beautiful works of art. He had a sketch of himself by French painter Bernard Buffet displayed above his desk, and four colorful portraits by Andy Warhol hanging in the hallway.
MM: So much of you father’s work was informed by art… Do you have a favorite work or artist?
MSL: There is perhaps no single more important work of art in the history of 20th century fashion than Piet Mondrian’s ‘Composition with Red Blue and Yellow,’ from 1930. When papa introduced his Mondrian collection in 1965, he integrated modernist art into the fashion world like never before seen. While I was lucky enough to live with Mondrian’s at home, this particular painting is dear to me for its impact on papa’s career and legacy.
MM: It sounds like you are very proud – as you should be! You mention you father’s legacy, are there other projects or collaborations that come to mind as some of your most gratifying moments?
MSL: Papa and I shared in a love for film, and the rise of the Yves Saint Laurent house coincided with that of French New Wave cinema. Looking back, that era has remained a favorite of mine for both its fashion and film, and the perfect crossing of these two art forms was in the 1967 film Belle de Jour staring Catherine Deneuve. Papa created an entire wardrobe for Deneuve’s character, which was the beginning of their lifelong friendship. Catherine still visits me for tea once a month. She is still the chicest!
MM: Aside from watching films and having monthly rendezvous with madame Deneuve, what do you do in your free time?
MSL: I love to read and listen to music. Papa’s late partner Pierre Bergé was a constant presence in my life, and because of him, I developed an interest in political discourse and theory. Papa Pierre introduced me to the author Albert Camus who, like Papa, is a pied-noir [a person of European origin who lived in Algeria during French rule and returned to Europe]. My favorite of his works is his existentialist novel ‘The Stranger’. I bet you didn’t expect such a highbrow answer from such a handsome Frenchie…
MM: I most certainly did not. Is there anything less scholarly that you enjoy? What type of music do you enjoy?
MSL: Our taste in music was the one area where papa and I differed. He would be appalled by what I listen to today. I am a big fan of hip-hop and rap, particularly Drake. I love his 2018 song with French Montana called “No Stylist”, mainly because he mentions ‘Saint Laurent’ in the chorus.
MM: I think that is the perfect place to conclude. Merci Moujik, it was a pleasure speaking with you.
MSL: Moi aussi! Merci Minnie Muse.