on Looking Kooky and Staying True to Yourself
The model and actress Lou Doillon recorded her first album “Places,” which came out last summer, in just 10 days with no money and zero expectations. Half the songs were written over the previous seven years just sitting around the house. “I always lived with guitarists,” she said over a cappuccino last fall in the lobby of the Dream Downtown hotel in New York, the morning after a show at the Highline Ballroom. “When they would leave, I would just pick up their acoustic guitars and start doing finger picking and write.” When she decided to record the album, she told her producer, “Let’s do it petite. If it works out, good.” And if it doesn’t? “Then I can die in a corner without anyone noticing.”
The daughter of the style icon Jane Birkin and the French film director Jacques Doillon (and the half-sister of Charlotte Gainsbourg), Doillon was wary of the French attitude toward the privileged set’s tendency to ride its own coattails to achieve even more fame. “What I realized is that the desire for making ‘Places’ came from the fact that I’ve got this strange situation with having been born in the glitter, born on the other side of the mirror that everyone fantasizes about.”
Doillon, who will represent her country in Australia this month at the Francophilic music, food and wine fest So Frenchy So Chic, has quickly emerged as one of her country’s great contemporary fashion icons. Here, she shares her secrets for effortless style.
“I’ve got this huge coat, woolly coat — this very, very long Saint Laurent coat — which I always wear. It’s always cold in planes. And because I’m always tired — and I’m always cold when I’m tired — I love huge things where I add up layers.”
“I have a huge scarf from Hermès that I bought the day I signed my record deal. I had never had an Hermès scarf. And I ran to buy one, thinking, ‘Now, this is a symbol, I need one, I need an Hermès scarf,’ which actually now I’m quite embarrassed about. Most of the time I twist it so much that no one notices it, and just bundle it around me.”
Go thrifting on the road.
“I always bring basic stuff like jeans and T-shirts. But in fact, it’s a mistake because as soon as I hit a place, I go to every thrift shop around. And I think that every day I’ve been on stage in what I found in that city.”
Make Armani part of your beauty regimen.
“I love the Armani foundation, which is insane — very very thin. I could go and sell the product. It is nearly like an orgasm. It’s called Maestro.”
Try this makeup trick.
“I always wear a lipstick, kind of reddish, that I put on and take away — that was my mother’s technique. And what’s left on your finger, you put on your cheeks.”
Eat what you want … while you still can.
“I don’t know what my mother gave me as genes, but I’m eating between two to five cheeseburgers a day. Every day, it’s that and tacos. And I test every burger in every town. It’s that and root beer every day. And ginger ale. And a lot of beers in the evening. I keep on thinking that it’s just gonna hit me one morning.”
Less really isn’t more.
“I’ve always got two or three bags because I’ve got so much stuff, I never know what I need or what I don’t need. So I’ve got a very beautiful Saint Laurent duffel — it’s very big because I can put lots of stuff in it: books, diaries, A4 papers to draw, and markers and stuff. The mini bag is out of the question for me.”
Go your own way.
“When I was a little girl, I hated my family’s style because my sister Charlotte and my sister Kate and my father Jacques and my uncles and Serge and my mom all had 501 Levi’s, a white T-shirt and a bloody pair of Converse, and I couldn’t stand it. So I was this kind of Christmas tree. I hated the kind of casual chic French vibe. I wanted to be more kooky.”
Get dressed for yourself, not to impress others.
“I’ve always found that fashion is first of all, mainly for yourself. So my two icons are, on one side, Little Edie from ‘Grey Gardens’ and, of course, like all my generation, I’m influenced by Kate Moss. She was wearing clothes that were too big or too small, with a big pair of socks, and she played on this idea that we were there to be moved by her, and not impressed. My heart leapt out for her. I always want to move people or make them giggle — anything but impress.By ALAINNA LEXIE BEDDIE