François Catroux (1936 - 2020)

François Catroux (1936 - 2020)

François and Betty Catroux in 1970 in their Paris apartment
Credit...Horst P. Horst/Condé Nast, via Getty Images

The interior designer François Catroux, was born the year of 1936 in French colonized Algeria to his Spanish heiress mother Marie and his father Andre Catroux, who was the son of the French WWI and WWII General Georges Catroux.

Without any formal training in design, François is considered an autodidact. He learned from the experiences of life that he was afforded through his own curiosity aided by the strength of his familial name and the extensive connections that it brought. At a young age he experienced the homes of aristocrats such as the Rothschilds and Dreyfuses. However, it was at the age of 27 where he discovered the 'New World' during a trip to New York where he consulted for Elle Magazine. It is in the city where he familiarized himself with the homes of Cole Porter, Pamala Hayward, Billy Baldwin, and most notably Phillip Johnson. The latter of which had a profound effect on Catroux through his work on The Glass House in New Canaan, CT. These experiences enthralled François, who carried his inspiration with him back to Paris in 1967 where he would decorate his now famous apartment on the Quai de Béthune. This caught the eye of Mila Schon who employed the interior designer to decorate her Milan boutique. Catroux's efforts on this project would gain welcomed recognition and effectively began his 40+ year career in the world of Interior Design.

François and Betty Catroux, Pierre Bergé, Bill Willis and Yves Saint Laurent, Paris, 1970s. Photograph by Jeanik Ducot.

Catroux's work is hard to pin down within a singular style as there is a certain unattainable essence that transcends each classification and makes the work timeless. It is his amalgamation of experiences and spontaneity that render a unique and awe inspiring presence in each space that he has worked on. Because of this, he was a highly revered name amongst society's upper crust leading him to be called on to work for many notable families and people of influence.

Betty And Francois Catroux's Living Room by Horst P. Horst. 

As he rarely celebrated his successes and did not seek the limelight, Catroux may not be a well-known or household name. However, his contributions are of immeasurable influence to the world of design.

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