This story was originally published in 2012. It has not been updated.– French Girl in Seattle
Elegant. Flawless. Inimitably stylish. Flaunting a certain Je-ne-sais-quoi. Exuding a subtle confidence. Ah, the French woman. A timeless myth still in the making. How she intrigues, and captivates around the world. Visit your local bookstore, or browse online, under “French style,” “French elegance,” or better yet, “French woman,” and prepare yourself for a deluge of books, essays, blogposts, with would-be enticing – and often downright ridiculous – titles such as: All you need to be impossibly French: A Witty investigation into the Lives, Lusts, and Little Secrets of French Women. Or: How to Dress Like A French Woman: The Beginner’s Guide to Dressing Classic, Sexy, Chic and Elegant Just Like the French. My favorite in recent years: French Women Don’t Get Fat. Seriously. Does anyone out there actually believe French women don’t put on weight? (These colorful macarons do not come in a low-fat version, you know.)
Some authors have made a lot of money out of these books, especially in the United States where many women lap up the advice so generously provided by these self-proclaimed life-style gurus, while others brush off the mere mention of French style and would-be European superiority.
Yesterday afternoon, the first rain Seattle has experienced in almost three months pelted my windows for several hours. I sat in my cozy living room sipping a cup of Fauchon‘s Un Après-Midi à Paris (An Afternoon in Paris,) tea blend – how is that for cultural stereotype? – as I browsed online and caught up with current events. All of a sudden, I saw Her; Marion la Magnifique. She was attending the premiere of her new movie, Rust and Bone, on a chilly evening in London. She did not seem to mind the cold in her perfect little black dress. Note to Britney Spears, the Kardashian motley crew, and other starlets and socialites: This is how a true lady – and a bona fide star – gets out of a car. Watch and Learn.
Is is the (Dior) dress? The perfect gams? the elegant shoes? Marion’s body language? All of the above, and more. “This, I thought, is what the ultimate French woman looks like.” Today, I feel generous. I am not a life-style guru, or a fashionista, just a French Girl who types away and shares her musings on a laptop in her corner of American suburbia. Today, I will save you, my reader, a lot of money and time. If you have ever wondered what defines the French woman, her renowned aura, and her inimitable sense of style, just scroll down. It’s all there. Look. Learn. Smile. PS: It’s o.k. to gawk (I am French, and I did too.) Today, I give you, the French woman – personified.
Je vous en prie. You’re welcome.
The French woman knows her classics, from the indispensable petite robe noire (little black dress,) to the simple, clean lines that will stand out in any soirée. She understands traditional does not have to equal frumpy and boring. When she leaves the house, she is always put together, whatever her personal style, out of respect for herself and others.
London, October 2012
(dude in the background clearly showed up for the wrong event…)
|Grace Kelly deserted the French Riviera a long time ago,
but another princess visited the Cannes Film Festival this year…
The French woman can be wild and adventurous, sexy or smoldering. She knows how to turn up the heat and make your heart race.
|Marion, her LBD, Dior accessories… and the Eiffel Tower: Perfection!|
|Marion’s shoes, ah… Marion’s shoes…
|The camera loves her…
(Immortalized by the legendary Harcourt Studios)
The French woman makes it all look so easy, but she works hard and shows discipline.
|Marion, impersonating the great Edith Piaf in her award-winning role|
|On the set of Les Petits Mouchoirs (Little White Lies)
with director Guillaume Canet
It’s not all about work: The French woman treasures her accessories and is never seen in public without them…
|Never underestimate the power of a hat
|Marion and Chopard: a love story|
|Marion, holding one of my dream [Dior] handbags|
She is so much more than a stylish silhouette. She enjoys life. She smiles. She has a beautiful smile. Not an American smile, mind you. Some people may even miss it.
|Marion and Owen (Wilson)
Midnight in Paris
|Understated… the make up, the colors, the smile…
but somehow radiant…
The French woman lives her life her own way. She is creative. Maybe she has hidden talents.
|A pregnant Marion still finds the time to play the guitar
with a French band.
|(photo: Tom Munro)|
Her personal life is important to her. She cherishes her family and friends.
|Enjoying a good meal with friends
Les Petits Mouchoirs (Little White Lies, 2010)
|Marion with her partner, French actor and director Guillaume Canet|
|Marion, Guillaume and son Marcel in New York City|
Does the French woman exercise?
|What do you think, Marion?|
|Dog walking counts, right?
(Vanity Fair Italy, 2010)
|What about sailing?
(Little White Lies)
She exudes confidence – a trait sometimes mistaken for arrogance – but deep down, she knows life is too short to take oneself too seriously.
|Cannes Film Festival, 2012|
A special merci to Marion, and to all the photographers who captured these images. I gave you credit when I could.
Marion Cotillard is an award-winning actress, with an international career. Her filmography is here.
|Marion, “au naturel”|