I went to see the 1958 movie Bonjour Tristesse in a sparkling new print yesterday and was struck by how stylish it is – in so many more ways than I remembered from seeing it on TV in my teens. Style-wise back then, I couldn’t see past the sublime pixie crop sported by the gamine Jean Seberg – and all I could recall of the film in general was that I didn’t like it much, apart from the theme song (scroll down to hear Juliette Greco singing it in the opening scenes) which has always haunted me. This time, however, I was wowed right from the get-go – by the colourful Saul Bass-designed titles (and Georges Auric music) which announced the film’s style credentials: “accessories by Hermes”. A good sign, surely?
Well, yes. I can’t find the costume designer listed on the Internet Movie Database – and I blinked and missed the credit during the titles (too dazzled by the Hermes mention, perhaps) but I believe it was Givenchy – which just adds to the appeal. Certainly, the first dress we see Seberg wearing – in the black & white sequences that represent the present-day and book-end the main drama – is reminiscent of the “Sabrina” dress that Givenchy designed for Audrey Hepburn to wear in the movie of that name … Bonjour Tristesse certainly required a chic, grown-up wardrobe for its other female star, Deborah Kerr, since she plays a Parisian fashion designer whose creations are worn by both her and the other characters throughout the movie.
I wonder now whether I ever watched beyond the first twenty minutes of the film when I first saw it. They are full of irritating dialogue, and focus on Cecile (Seberg), her unfulfilling social life and her nauseatingly sophisticated relationship with her playboy father (David Niven). I can’t think of many other films where the look – of the costumes, the stars’ make-up and hair (Deborah Kerr looks particularly striking with soft make-up and flame red hair pinned up in an elegant chignon), their tanned bods and the locations (French Riviera) – has seduced me enough to continue watching something that was otherwise boring or annoying me. But I’m glad I did – for not only was there more style inspiration to soak up as the film unfolded, but I was drawn into the story in a way which I wasn’t when I first saw it. (Oh, and there was a wonderful opportunity to see Martita Hunt, AKA the definitive Miss Havisham, looking glamorous in the casino scene.)
It’s not a great film but it’s worth seeing; a movie based on a French literary classic – which the French should have made themselves. It seems all wrong as a Hollywood film – but it looks a million dollars ..
In case you didn’t receive the memo, this autumn’s, er, autumnal colours have been more or less replaced by pastel shades normally reserved for summer: powder blue and, especially, pale (or as the Americans charmingly describe it, blush) pink. The muted pink coats in Marks & Spencer and Zara are lovely, as are some of the fabulous handbags (especially at Mulberry) and shoes (at Whistles, for example) but if you’re not naturally a pink-thinking kind of gal when it comes to clothes (personally, I’ve not worn the shade since I began dressing myself) then there are other ways to work the ultimate feminine shade into your look, notably on the nails: my faves are currently Chanel’s lovely satin-like Rose Moire shade of nail varnish (£18) from its new Rouge Allure Moire collection (out September 27) and Estee Lauder’s pretty and unusual Pure Color Vivid Shine Nail Lacquer in Rose Gold (£14.50; www.esteelauder.co.uk).
What were we saying about thinking pink? Well, if pink is your preferred shade of blusher, there is a fab new one to try: Le Blush Creme de Chanel (£27) in Inspiration, a beautiful shade which is great for pale complexions and belongs to Chanel’s new range of cream blushers (in compacts) that blend easily and last impressively.
The latest must-try treatments at the elegant Spa at Blythswood Square in Glasgow have been created to make the most of ishga, a lovely new organic skincare range which draws on the anti-ageing powers of mineral-rich Scottish seaweed. (Indeed, the seaweed content in ishga is higher than in any other seaweed-based skincare.) The name ishga is derived from the Gaelic word for water, appropriately since the seaweed that the company hand-harvests comes from the Hebrides, home to some of the cleanest waters in the world. Among the ishga treatments exclusively available at the Spa at Blythswood Square are a wonderful Hot Stone Massage (£80; 55 minutes), an all-over body therapy in which a seaweed base oil is massaged deep into the muscles thanks to the use of heated stones, and an Express Facial (£42; 25 minutes) which deep-cleanses and rejuvenates the complexion. I particularly loved the latter when I tried a couple of treatments last week. My skin looked even-toned and bright and felt fresh and revived for days afterwards – and I loved the refreshing lemon scent of the ishga skincare, which is available to buy at the Blythswood. To book, call 0141 240 1622.
SO NOT …
BADLY DESIGNED PRODUCT PACKAGING
It’s all very well finding a great toner, as I have – in the form of Estee Lauder’s Perfectly Clean Multi-Action Toning Lotion/Refiner (£22) – but if the bottle is always wet (somehow the liquid always gathers in the lid and then dribbles down the bottle when it’s closed) then I’m not likely to want to replace it when I finish. Ditto for the lovely, shiny new Hydra Smooth Lip Color lipsticks (£15 each) from Benefit. The texture and shine are impressive, and the Deco-inspired design is attractive – at least it was before I started using the lipstick. Now it’s a mess because often when the small, clear cap is replaced it catches on the lipstick itself, the lipstick is quite soft and has lost its slanted shape quickly, and the top of the cream tube is now ringed with gooey product…
Okay, enough already. There can’t be an internet-user/newspaper reader/magazine browser in the land who is unaware of the forthcoming return of the ridiculously popular costume drama… Really? You didn’t know? Well, gird your loins: it’s back onscreen on September 22.