Tag Archives: Bonjour Tristesse

Well Hello, Bonjour Tristesse

Bonjour Tristesse - JS black dressI 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 Bonjour Tristesse - Seberg & Kerr on arrivalHermes 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 Bonjour Tristesse - Seberg & Kerr in casinowhere 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 ..

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Style-o-Meter: August 7


GOING FOR THE CROPJean Seberg - Bonjour Tristesse

So, Beyonce is the latest celebrity to embrace cropped hair – following in the recent footsteps of Rihanna, Miley Cyrus and Jessie J. By coincidence, the poster girl for the pixie crop is making a comeback on the big screen this month: Jean Seberg, the beautiful gamine whose best-remembered film, A Bout de Souffle (Breathless), made her a style icon, will be back in cinemas in her 1958 colour movie Bonjour Tristesse. A coming of age story based on Francoise Sagan’s classic novel, it’s mostly of interest for the splendour of the Seberg coiffeur.


This is proving to be a vintage year for hot mascaras: first from Dior, then Chanel and now the latest from Clarins – a replacement for Wonder Lashes. Clarins Be Long Mascara (£21; www.clarins.co.uk) really is more wonderful than its predecessor: with one swipe across the lashes, it transforms them dramatically, making them longer, thicker, well separated and with a curl. There are two shades, Intense Black (which is seriously intense) and limited edition Intense Brown.


Lauder metallicsAh, August – often the summeriest month but the one in which followers of fashion begin to look forward to all things autumnal. The big beauty companies traditionally begin selling their autumn/winter colours in August and one trend that’s been around for a while is taking off in a big way this fall: metallic nails. Chanel launches a lovely metallic pink rose nail varnish in September (its autumn make-up belongs more to the camouflage/sludgy colours movement); it’s Estee Lauder which has this trend nailed, er so to speak, with Estee Lauder Pure Color Vivid Shine Nail Lacquers (£14.50; www.esteelauder.co.uk) – eight new limited edition shades offering deep and pearlised  colour. Faves so far are Midnight Metal and Rose Gold… 



Now that the heatwave is ebbing away, it’s time for the depressing task of auditing the sun cream stains on favourite sun wear – if anyone knows how to remove these marks permanently, please share your secrets!Pebbles Flintstone


Can we please call time on these ridiculous wannabe buns that you  can see on girls’ heads the length and breadth of the country? It’s one thing sporting a magnificent, 1960s-style, bun on the top of one’s bonce – indeed, I wouldn’t be surprised if a large bun helped with posture much in the way that balancing books on the head was a favourite trick used in deportment lessons – but it’s another wearing a daft wee top knot/folded back ponytail that would looks like something from the Pebbles Flintstone hair repertoire.


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