Tuesday, May 12, 2009

THEN AND NOW...



Then: Charlotte Rampling in Georgy Girl - Now: photographed by Jacques Bosser.


Then: Jane Birkin with Serge - credit unknown - Now: photographed by Carole Bellaïche

Continuing on a theme - I have been pondering this so much that I think I could fill an entire book on the subject. It's hard to marshal my thoughts though.

I'm wondering how it is that (I'll speak for myself at least) Jane Birkin and Charlotte Rampling are such enduring icons. Is it because they are still beautiful, (I would argue that Rampling has become even more beautiful with age) with no apparent signs of tampering; that they look very much the same as they always have and both have a recognisable simple style? Is it because they achieved that seemingly impossible feat of being English girls who moved to Paris and were able to crack the notoriously hard shells of the Parisians? Is it more than external - to do with the choices they've made in how they live and the work they do? Or are they just lucky? You could say that Brigitte Bardot is an enduring icon I suppose, but she is more an example of how not to age! I am by no means saying it's just about skin deep beauty though - it is something from within. I must say that though I can watch Bardot in an old film and think what a pretty girl, there is not much that really interests me about her (unlike Serge who was with both Bardot and Birkin! Apparently Bardot's breasts "frightened" him so he moved on to the slighter figured Jane.)

Have you noticed how as people get older they kind of set hard? Something about them becomes immovable and perhaps, if you're not careful, the way you set could be an unfortunate reflection of your state of mind and spirit. Or perhaps the secret of Birkin/Rampling is that they've never set, they just evolve naturally while keeping the essence of themselves. That seems like a lot less trouble, and far more palatable than the lengths someone like Madonna goes to.

It's funny to me that when I was a teenager I pasted pages of editorials from magazines all over my walls, as I'm sure many of us did. A way to collect influences to help define who and how we would be. But lately when I look at models I just find they mostly look incredibly frail. Now in my sketchbook and here I am posting photos of women more than twice my age, as if somehow this will help me navigate the rocky path of well, not being a girl anymore. (Arrghh, no Britney, no!)

I call it notes for the future.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

brilliant post!

i have thought about these things as well...and i think it is a question of having great genes! accepting your age and not fighting it and if you were "incredible" inside (on whatever level)when you were younger...it shows on the outside, when you age...

these women are inspirational !!

nancy

Bombay Beauty said...

Very thoughtful post indeed. I'm not sure, and the same question can be broadened. I was musing on a related question for 1970s male film stars a while back, comparing Steve McQueen and Eliot Gould.

I think you have various strands of the answer: (a) aging gracefully (but being lucky enough to have a frame that allows you to do that!), (b) continuing to evolve so that you are neither chasing the past nor chasing what belongs to the next generation (or the generation after that).

And (c) drink as much Champagne as possible... (where did that come from?... )

BB

l'embrouillamini said...

So true.

I love to hear Charlotte Rampling speak in French - you'd never guess that she was English.

jojo said...

I really agree!

As i have got older I have realised that the fashion and the style "sold" aimed at women is dull, badly cut and dreary. Bring on Jane Birkin and Charlotte Rampling I say! Also Amanda Harlech.

Lisa said...

I love love love your observations and I too have long admired Charlotte and Jane as beacons of womanly elegance and truth. Being in the US where aging (esp. for women) is considered plague-like it is great to know there are women who have begun to set up our camp.
PS Has Catherine Deneuve had work done? I can never decide.

up and down town said...

i used to be so model-centered. now i absolutely have to look outside of fashion media, for the most part, for my inspiration.

Lola Is Beauty said...

Lisa - I think CD has that slightly *frosted* look from injections - but her style is more formal and made up so I maybe it's harder to get away with...

up and down town - me too...