Do you ever wonder about beauty in different cultures? Why is it that Americans have tweaked their definition of beauty into expectations of perfect exaggerated symmetry; Asians strive for an avant-garde pearlescent luminosity; and the French are inventors and masters of la jolie laide? Jolie laide, literally translated as pretty-ugly, is used to describe a woman who transcends the saccharine societal definition beauty–a woman who is not conventionally pretty but has the ability to redefine other’s expectations of beauty and as a result, seduce the world into finding them irresistibly attractive. Thing Sophia Coppola, artist Ann Duong, Meryl Streep, Barbra Streisand, YSL muse Loulou de la Falaise, and of course there is the doyenne of jolie laide, Jane Birkin, who is so brimming with that je ne sais quoi it that she produced a progeny of jolie laide it-girls–Lou Doillon and Charlotte Gainsbourg.
Artist Ann Duong. Photo: Zimbio.com
Meryl Streep. Photo: That’s Not My Age
Barbra Streisand. Photo: Wikipedia
Loulou de la Falaise. Photo: Guestofaguest.com
Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg
Jane Birkin’s Daughters, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Lou Doillon. Photo: Style.com
What do all these women have in common? They know how to make the best of what they’ve got (and most of them are quite deft at pulling off turbans and crazy accessories). Let this serve as a reminder to love thyself and fearlessly carve out your own place in the world. After all, conventional beauty fades with age but style evolves.
For a beautifully written study on jolie laide, read “The Unfairest of Them All“.
Big Kiss and Bigger Diamonds,