Tag Archives: Deborah Kerr

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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My Week in Beauty

SUNDAY

My week got off to a glamorous start, with a trip to the cinema to ogle Burt Lancaster, Montgomery Clift, Frank Sinatra and the beautiful Deborah Kerr (left, and sadly no relation) in the 1953 melodrama From Here to Eternity.

Despite being a fellow Scot – she was born just outside Glasgow – Deborah Kerr has never been one of my favourite actresses, probably because she often played prudish characters. Let’s face it, the collection of governesses’ dresses and nuns’ habits that made up her movie wardrobe were hardly likely to rank amongst my top choices of stylish films.

Anyway, I was struck by how sexy, indeed vampish, La Kerr looked in FHTE, playing the rather promiscuous army wife who becomes romantically entangled – most memorably on a Hawaiian beach – with Burt Lancaster. It’s not just the long legs which are shown off in shorts that could have been borrowed from The Postman Always Rings Twice’s Lana Turner; it’s the loose, and rather wild blonde hair, the scarlet lipstick and, especially, the long, long eyelashes which turned in their own Oscar-nominated performance.

MONDAY

Only vamps need apply for the new limited edition Tom Ford Black Orchid Collection (£100;  Harvey Nichols stores and Frasers, Glasgow) – of solid perfume, lipstick and nail varnish – which is coming out for Christmas.

At an elegant dinner in Glasgow on Monday, beauty writers were given a sneak preview of this lovely Christmas gift as well as the latest Tom Ford Private Blend fragrance, the gorgeous Azure Lime (£115).

I know we’ve got a few months to go but given that everyone at the dinner was dressed in little black numbers (even our favourite male beauty writer was a vision in noir) with sparkly jewellery (and, in a couple of cases, nails), it definitely had the feel of the first Christmas night-out of 2010!

TUESDAY

Tuesday evening was spent in the cosy yet chic surroundings of the Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh where the journalist and author Justine Picardie was giving a talk on the subject of her latest biography – Coco Chanel – The Legend and the Life. This seemed like as good an occasion as any to road-test one of the latest nail colours from the Parisian beauty company, so it was with Chanel Nail Colour in Jade Rose (£16.50) adorning my talons that I watched Justine’s fascinating slide show and listened to her stories of Mademoiselle’s adventures in bonnie Scotland.

Jade Rose is a lovely, delicate variation on the nude theme  – not as readily identifiable as last year’s Jade or this season’s Paradoxal, but undoubtedly a future classic nonetheless. A bit like Justine’s book – which I’ll be writing more about shortly.

WEDNESDAY

I was starting to feel unwell by Wednesday, thanks to some bug that was presumably brought home by one – or both – of my six-year-old sons. So I let my pal Lizzy do the talking when we had a chat about beauty products which I’d asked her to try out for me.

A couple of months ago, I shared a batch of hair masks out amongst my friends and Lizzy bagged the Jo Hansford Intensive Masque for Fine Hair (£25; www.johansford.com). It certainly got a good review from her, despite a “weird” texture which was “a cross between putty and chewing gum”. Lizzy said it had a lovely scent, reminiscent of pink grapefruit, and that, once she had got over the texture and worked it in her hands for a few seconds, it was softer and very easy to apply.  And the results? “Softer, glossier hair which smells really fresh after it’s dried.”

THURSDAY

I was determined to ignore my burgeoning bug on Thursday as I had a meeting at Glasgow’s newest old hotel – the Grand Central. As the name suggests, this is a station hotel and now, as in its heyday (when it was merely the Central Hotel), it is somewhere you would want to see and be seen in … (In the interim decades, it had been somewhere you wouldn’t set foot in!)

Anyway, to get myself in the mood for the hotel where vampy comedienne Mae West stayed for two memorable weeks (in 1947, since you ask), I upped the eyeliner ante by swapping my usual semi-subtle chocolate brown liner for the forthcoming Benefit Magic Ink Jet-Black Liquid Eyeliner (£14.50; www.benefitcosmetics.co.uk from October 31).

The verdict? Very sexy, very femme fatale – the ideal liner for creating a feline flick and the sort of come-hither eyes that Deborah Kerr works so memorably in From Here to Eternity ..

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