MUSES: Emmanuelle Alt

Timeless and effortless, her dress is the perfect daily uniform. Polished and powerful in bold basics, a sharp jacket, and bare-faced makeup, she is, as Karl Lagerfeld once described, ‘a very handsome french woman.’

However, Miss Alt is not the only one.  Chan Marshall (especially circa 2006-2008), Charlotte Gainsbourg, Caroline de Maigret, Diane Keaton, Jane Birkin, Sophia Coppola…. …they consistently shy from bright colors, feminine dresses, ‘done’ hair – yet this simplicity makes them seem ever- ready for a glass of whiskey, a smoke, and a romp in the hay. Bravo.

The women I constantly look to for a style that is polished, accessible, and totally sexy are almost all french, many of them related (ahem, Jane Birkin, Lou Dillon, Charlotte Gainsbourg) but I give this more to a cultural value system very different from that of America than any sort of silly calcium-in-the-water cliche.

Point your finger to whatever “-ism” you believe it is which may causes the French to care about the national  appearance of their woman. Is it sexism? Maybe. Chauvinism? Perhaps, but it is a friendly and amiable sort of chauvinism which I find to be a bit thrilling and somewhat exciting whenever I visit. Is it the nation’s conservatism? Perhaps.

Either way, I fail to take any issue when the culture consistently churns out intelligent timeless beauties like Emmanuelle Alt.

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