The leading lady of French cinema for decades now, Catherine Deneuve has also been a model and one of the most enduring style icons. A style icon who says she “doesn’t dress for style”, but rather “to be dressed”. Isn’t this attitude one of the secrets of French women, the free spirit which inevitably leads to that enviable effortless chic look? I would say it is. Never wearing much makeup, lining her eyes and keeping everything else light and au naturel, Deneuve was and is a quintessential French beauty.
Even though she considers muse too strong a word to describe her relationship with Yves Saint Laurent, the two had a very special and long friendship. He dressed her in five films: Belle de Jour (oh, I remember the precise cuts, the minimalist, elegant lines and clean finishes of the outfits she wears, reflecting the style of Laurent’s Rive Gauche ready-to-wear line launched in 1966), La Chamade, La Sirène du Mississippi, Liza and The Hunger, as well as for premiers and daily life. In 1992 she became a model for his skincare line.
With the on-screen reputation of an ice queen after Polanski’s Repulsion (1965) and Buñuel’s Belle de Jour (1967), nominated for the Academy Awards for Indochine (1992) and having won numerous others, her filmography has been cited as inspiration by many designers. Nominated by Look magazine as the most beautiful woman in the world in the ’60s, the face of Chanel Nº5 in the late ’70s, the image of France’s national symbol, Marianne, in the ’80s, shoe designer for Repetto, having launched her own eponymous perfume and having collaborated with Louis Vuitton for their Core Value ad campaigns, Catherine Deneuve continues to be a star and woman of style.