Interview: Lou Doillon, on the “French Look” and her latest Fashion Project

Lou Doillon & Other Stories (4)When Lou Doillon swept into the fashion world in the late 2000s, she took everyone by storm by her heavy bangs and indescribable French elegance “au naturele”. The singer/songwriter, artist, actress, model and all-around fashion muse is the daughter of actress Jane Birkin and, thus, half-sister of Charlotte Gainsbourg – quite a family, which explains how she so effortlessly epitomizes French glamour. She began her acting career as her mother’s daughter in Kung-Fu Master (1988) at the age of one, and then went on to star in films such as Gigola (2010) and Un enfant de toi (2012). Lou also fell into modelling in her teens, with high-profile catwalk and advertising jobs for Chanel, Givenchy and Missoni, and she even made a brief return to acting in 2016 for a new series of short films by Gia Coppola for Gucci. Her last album, Lay Low (2015), was awarded Golds certification – and she is set to release her third studio album during 2018. A muse to many, she was the inspiration for a capsule collection by the Swedish upscale high street brand & Other Stories for the coming festive season, designed in the brand’s Parisian atelier in close dialogue with the star. We took the chance to speak to Doillon about her fashion sensibilities, which, believe it or not, ended up in an associative citing of philosopher Roland Barthes. We expect nothing less from Doillon.

Everyone envies French women for their style-DNA. How would you define the “French look” and why do you think it has such an
enduring power?
I think French people are raised to be very critical about themselves and others, and that’s maybe why, women are extremely aware of themselves; that has the advantage of knowing what looks good on you, following your body more than a fashion dictate; and the disadvantage of sometimes lacking humor or let’s say carelessness… Also, we like to always “have one up our sleeves”, so we would rather underplay it that overplay it (so that the mystery of how good we might look if we had matching make- up and hair and heels and dress and bag….) remains uncertain!

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What role does fashion play in your life? And did it change/evolve over the years?
I have always adored fashion, as find it to be THE universal language. Fashion is a code, that people communicate with and through, history, economy, religion, laws are reflected in fashion. “Le vêtement c’est le moment où le sensible devient signifiant“, says Roland Barthes, and I do believe that it is. On the other hand, the fashion language is losing its self, when people want to follow trends, instead of following themselves. They should own their “sensible” to make it “signifiant” to the
position they want to have in society. That where the business of it, sometimes carries us away from its initial purpose…I use fashion, as a medium, just like singing, or drawing; it’s a way of presenting my “sensible”.

& Other Stories has a design atelier in Paris and our designer had you in mind when she created these pieces. What’s your
favourite pieces/look from this shoot?
Lou Doillon: It was a very easy shoot for me, as I could feel that the style of this collection for & Other Stories, was very close to mine. I loved the team, the location and the photographer. I was really into the velvet suit with the white shirt. I have always been influence by men’s style in the 70’s..; And this look made me think of Keith ;) I also loved the printed shirts.

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Do you have a special memory/story about the theatre where the shoot took place?
Yes, we shot in the Trianon, which was the first big gig I did in Paris, on my first tour. The place is magical, and I shall never forget the love that was sent to me that night. Being a Parisian, one is always worried at the idea of the response people will have at home, and I was very surprised at the warmness, and welcome that I felt that night. I also remember so many wonderful concerts I went to see there. It’s my favourite venue in Paris.

Do you have an on-stage/off-stage approach to dressing? Are those two different worlds in terms of style?
I have always admired artists that create a personae, and thus imagine a name, a look, a sound that sometimes is actually foreign to their actual/private style; An alter ego type. My approach to music is very different, I started late, was already known for transforming myself, through roles in movies, or in fashion stories, and so, had a desire to show who I actually was. That’s why I decided to stick to being me in and out of light. It’s a risk, to go on stage without protection, because garment is a form of protection, just as much as makeup…but it’s my way of getting out there. I wear the same clothes, before and after a performance.

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