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E.O.F. Style Divinity – {Nature Girl} Francoise Hardy

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What is it about Francoise Hardy that captivates the world so? It is a question as mysterious and enigmatic as the living icon, herself.

More than just a 1960s French Pop sensation, she is also an immortal idol of beauty, individual style, and tameless adventure. Apart from her legendary music career, the timeless beauty is iconized to this day in film, music, and of course, fashion.

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Whether playing the girl next door, boho hippie chick, tomboy, or the sexy biker, Francoise was able to captivate all of those who laid eyes on her with her striking beauty and fearlessness. Like a siren, her spell is not easily shaken from the captivator.

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A shy girl, Francoise grew up in Paris with her mother and younger sister, while her father lived apart from them with little time spent with his two young girls. However, her father would play a huge part in her life by buying her her first guitar for a birthday, which would nurture her love and talent for music and song.

As fate would have it, after a year studying at the Sorbonne, Francoise spotted an ad in the paper looking for young singers, and in 1961, at the age of 17, she signed her first record contract with VOGUE, and by the next year her first record, “Oh Cheri Cheri” was released, co-writted by Johnny Hallyday – the French Elvis, as he was known.

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It would be her classic song, “Tous les garçons et les filles” (“All the Boys and Girls”) that would become a huge hit, and put the enchanting songstress on the map. With a growing wave of popularity towards French Pop Music, or yé-yé, it wasn’t long before her song was a hit in Quebec, the UK, and soon the world!!!

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Most recently her charming croon has been hitting the screens around the world in Wes Anderson’s “Moonrise Kingdom”(click her to see the iconic dance and kiss from the movie), introducing her to a whole new generation of listeners looking for a break from the monotony of today’s music scene.

Indeed, she provides something classic in her music, which has a modern yet timeless quality to it. And whether you speak French, or not, it seems her music touches a supernatural sensibility in all of us, allowing us to enjoy the pure essence of what she sings without even knowing a word of it.

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Perhaps this can be attributed to her background as an astrologer (told you she wasn’t just your average singing belle!), and her interest in the mystical and esoteric. In fact, she has published an entire series of books under her name that deal with the subject matter, making her an expert in the field. And having trained with legend in the field, Jean-Pierre Nicola, you can trust her ability to finely tune into life’s sensitivities.

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Francoise is a Capricorn, which explains her cool demeanour, unending ambition, and scholarly approach to life, but what still remains a mystery is that certain je na sais quois, and what it is exactly that has beguiled the world so.

After all, she was the quoted muse of Nicholas Ghesquiere, designer of Balenciaga, and you can almost always count on any credible fashion blogger to have a piece on the belle.

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But, as any wise man or woman knows, that is an element that is best left alone, for it is that untouchable, unknowable, strange, and desirable quality that does hold us so, and in so, one has the chance to truly be immortal.

Sometimes, I think her life can be best described using the lyrics to Nat King Cole’s all-time classic – “Nature Boy”. But of course, for the sake of gender, it should be aptly called “Nature Girl” when dealing with the one and only Francoise Hardy.

Perhaps, you can see it too:

There was a girl
A very strange enchanted girl
They say he wandered very far, very far
Over land and sea
A little shy
And sad of eye
But very wise
Was she

And then one day
A magic day she came my way
And while we spoke of many things, fools and kings
This she said to me
“The greatest thing
You’ll ever learn
Is just to love
And be loved
In return”

In 1981, Francoise Hardy married her long time companion, Jacques Dutronc, who she remains married to this day.

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Perhaps that’s her secret; just to love. Start with yourself, of course. But if we could all do the same, perhaps we can all be remembered someday as seductive, enchanting, and down-right stylish as she.

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The one and only Francoise Hardy.

Yours truly,

{theEye}

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{Style Wise} – Feathered Frenzy: Where Were You “Last Year at Marienbad” ?

Fresh off our post featuring an interview with Colleen Atwood and her immaculate creations for the new film “Snow White and the Huntsman“, {the Eye} began thinking of Charlize Theron’s haunting black raven feather “Transforming Cape” and how much it reminded me of Delphine Seyrig’s amazing feathered dress from the ambiguous and elusive 1961 French art house classic, “Last Year At Marienbad“.

Print This Out and Frame It!

Since it’s release in 1961, the film has captivated it’s viewers with it’s sleek black and white photography, decadent Hotel backdrop (Marienbad), and it’s mysterious plot, which involves a Man named “X” and a woman named “A” who may or may not have met the last year a Marienbad. It’s a wild ride through flashbacks, memories, dreams, faded thoughts, and blurred desires that remains the pinnacle of the New Novel movement.

 X

Empty salons. Corridors. Salons. Doors. Doors. Salons. Empty chairs, deep armchairs, thick carpets. Heavy hangings. Stairs, steps. Steps, one after the other. Glass objects, objects still intact, empty glasses. A glass that falls, three, two, one, zero. Glass partition, letters.

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Written by the renowned French author Alain Robbe-Grillet, and directed by Alain Resnais, the film hoped to break the bounds of narrative and conventional film style all together, and in exchange offer us, the audience, the chance to shape our own perception of the story being unfolded before us.

We may never get an answer from Resnais or Robbe-Grillet on what the film truly is or isn’t about, but it truly is a remarkable and powerful thing to have complete control over our own perception – don’t you think?

From a style perspective, it only takes one look at Delphine Seyrig‘s iconic black feathered cape to understand its staying power in our style consciousness.  Chic and elegant, it would take some serious rock ‘n’ roll attitude to pull this kind of look off today. This didn’t stop Karl Lagerfeld from using the film as the jump point for his collection last Spring/Summer 2011 for Chanel.

While the collection captured some of the signatures of Bernard Evein‘s enigmatic costume designs – feathers, sequins, sheer, black – there’s something masterful in the simplicity and cleanliness of the film’s sumptuous designs.

Here at {the Eye}, we’re going to sit back and let this mystery of a film continue to confuse and delight, as the demons of fashion plant the seeds of inspiration from sea to sea. What Resnais and Robbe-Grillet attempted was to reject accepted notions of time in telling a story- they step forward, backward, under, and sideways creating a timeless lingering legacy.

Inspiration is a strange thing going on and on, snowballing on through time non-stop. Between Charlize, Delphine, and Chanel it might be safe to say, if you’re feeling a little frenzied by feathers – you may just be on the right track!

We love a good mystery, and know you do too, so check out “Last Year At Marienbad” at Criterion today!

++UPDATE++ “Last Year at Marienabd” is part of the TIFF Cinematheque Summer in France programme at the TIFF Lightbox. So if you are in Toronto, and want to enjoy this grand mystery on the big screen, get your ticket today. We will see you there.

Sincerely,

{the Eye}

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