Photographed by Christian Vierig.
When you think of France, and the stylish women who live there, what images come to mind? Breton T-shirts, skinny jeans, bed-head hair, perfect makeup-less skin, and a certain je ne sais quoi attitude, perhaps?
Ever since Coco Chanel stepped onto the fashion stage, it seems that the rest of us mere mortals have been in total awe of French women’s insouciant brand of style. And, as The Independent reports, there seems to be no sating our appetite for self-help guides from this country's chic citizens. Next week, the author of French Women Don’t Get Fat, Mireille Guiliano, publishes her second book, French Women Don’t Get Facelifts: The Secret Of Aging With Style And Grace. This title seeks to give us the inside track on how the French make looking good look just so simple.
While Guiliano argues that cardigans, leaving half the food on your plate, moisturizing, and “feeling positive” are key to looking fabulous, we can't help but wonder if it's really that easy. A recent story on the BBC suggests otherwise. Sacre bleu! Maybe the French don’t have it all figured out either. “There is simply no mystery about it. Of course French women grow fat…But, the fact is they daren't, and some will even starve themselves because in this society to be a fat female is to be a failure," says Sonia Feertchak, editor-in-chief of L’Enyclo des Filles in an interview with the BBC. "Fat women are seen as stupid. Their lives must be out of control, they are judged ugly, weird losers.” Sadly, that sentiment seems to be universal.
While it doesn’t thrill us to see this carefully cultivated ideal revealed as nothing more than a myth, we’re also a little relieved. Every time this writer has visited Paris, the trip ended in an epic carb-fest, followed by a crashing sense of guilt on the Eurostar trip home. It’s good to know that the French also strive to resist temptation in all its flaky, buttery, delicious forms — and sometimes fail.
Perhaps it is time to put these cultural stereotypes to bed for good. Because this is what they are: stereotypes. Rather than perpetuate the myth, let’s acknowledge and celebrate what makes this country so wonderful. And, yes we're definitely including croissants as one of the reasons we love France so much. (The Independent)