Style Icons: Catherine Baba

Catherine Baba

Catherine Baba

New year, new fashion icons needed?

Je te présente… Catherine Baba! An Australian living in Paris, a stylist & sartorial genius, this is one woman with truly original style.

Baba is a mystery, & she dresses the part. Rumours as to her real origins are batted about the stratosphere from time to time, but there are no conclusive answers–& it’s rare that you’ll catch a glimpse of her eyes. Almost perpetually shaded by oversized sunglasses, her head wrapped in a splendid turban or adorned with an avant garde hat, she keeps herself covered, & doesn’t give too much away.

But she’s not boring, not at all. She once “borrowed” a chandelier from a ceiling, placed it on top of her head, then spent the evening DJing with it balanced precariously on her noggin! Baba loves to dance, to cry out “DAAAAAAARLING!” & to collect vintage Yves Saint Laurent.

Catherine Baba…She also knows how to rock a bicycle.

Catherine BabaWill you just LOOK at that posture?!

Catherine BabaNo one has ever made a turban look so good.

Baba has lived in Paris for over 15 years, & in that time, she has worked for Chanel, Givenchy, Balmain & Ungaro (among others). Her styling work is beautiful, & she has worked for the likes of Dazed & Confused, Vogue, Gioello, Stiletto & Vanity Fair… But the reason she has been crowned most stylish woman in Paris is because of her strong sense of personal style!

Baba has truly transformed herself into a character–one who has captured the imagination of everyone around her.

Catherine BabaEssential Baba style: stacks of bangles, a turban, sunglasses, towering heels.

Catherine BabaThis is what it might be like to go to lunch with the bizarrely brilliant Baba.

Catherine BabaChannelling Maria de Medeiros as Anaïs Nin in Henry & June?

Catherine BabaLOVING this outfit. Olive green + hot pink is always a winning combination in my book!

Catherine BabaGorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous.

Unlike the plethora of editors arriving in black cars, Baba rides her bicycle to all the Paris fashion shows. With a black canvas satchel strapped to the frame, she locks it against a lamppost & trots across the Jardin des Tuileries to watch the models stomp it out.

If that’s not amazing enough, she always rides in heels. Extremely high ones!

Catherine Baba

Catherine Baba

How old is Baba? No one knows. Her Myspace page says she’s 75 years old, but given the heels she wears, I doubt it! I think it’s more likely that this is an homage to the time she wishes she was born: 1936.

Regardless, she makes the most of life. “Since I am an insomniac, darling, I decided to live & watch rather than get back to my bed.” Baba is a regular on the dance-floor & is often the last one standing. Swirling around in a cloud of Opium perfume, her cigarette holder ever-present, she is surely a sight to behold.

Catherine BabaBaba in party mode.

Catherine BabaI love that I’ve never seen a photo of her fiddling with a cellphone. It is so refreshing!

Catherine BabaThe perfect illustration of dressing for warmth & staying glamorous!

Ms Baba only wears vintage fur. “Because I am against the suffering of animals, I wear only vintage fur. & I think that a sable would be delighted to know that it is worn by beautiful people, in sumptuous décors.”

She answers the phone by crying, “DARLING!”, reads Colette obsessively & lives in Montparnasse.

Her favourite places? “Chez Sarah at the Clignancourt flea markets for the extraordinary assortment of dresses from the eighteenth century to today. The terrace of Le Café Marly, to rest between fashion shows. Le Mathy’s Bar, from the beginning, for an evening with friends. But also A La Civette, the tobacco store of Palais Royal, to replenish the stock of Armada menthols to be iced then slipped into a silver cigarette holder.”

Catherine BabaStyling: Catherine Baba / Photography: Ellen Von Unwerth

Catherine BabaStyling: Catherine Baba / Photography: Ellen Von Unwerth

Catherine BabaStyling: Catherine Baba / Photography: Ellen Von Unwerth

Catherine Baba interviewed by Diane Pernet.

The definition of style according to stylist Catherine Baba.

Homage to a muse.

Hungry for more Baba?
The Fashion Spot has an ongoing thread about her
Ladyfag goes to Paris, chats avec Catherine Baba from Paper magazine
I love this translation of Baba’s Vogue Paris feature!

“Know who you are, be prepared for everything, drink every experience to its extent & expand! It can be a bumpy ride but, trust me, it’s worth it DARLING!” — Catherine Baba (source)

All in all, I think it’s safe to say, I’m gaga for Baba!