Bal Harbour

Spring 2016

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Fifteen years ago, when the late Yves Saint Laurent was still overseeing his atelier, fashion shows had not yet been invaded by reality stars, Instagram or seatmates who block your view by taking photos with their iPads. You could trust Pierre Bergé, Saint Laurent's longtime partner, would emerge from backstage and announce in French that the show would start on time, merci. And if a scrum of photographers erupted with blinding flashbulbs, you knew the reason from the one word floating through the air: "Deneuve! Deneuve!" Some things change, while others remain the same. Catherine Deneuve—consummate actress, legendary muse to Saint Laurent, and bona fide style icon—continues to command any room she enters. For the latest example, look to late January in Geneva, when Deneuve turned up at a party commemorating the 85th anniversary of Jaeger- LeCoultre's iconic Reverso watch. Clive Owen stood nearby, clean-shaven and sleek in a navy suit, while Christian Louboutin, who's working with the watch brand on an anniversary collaboration, drew breathless sighs from fans of his lust-worthy red soles. But it was Deneuve who stopped people in their tracks. Here was Belle de Jour herself, the woman who enticed Susan Sarandon andCliv David Bowie alike in The Hunger, the devoted friend and muse who, upon the finale of his final haute-couture show in January 2002, sang to a clearly overwhelmed Saint Laurent. Her choice: an affectionate rendition of "Ma Plus Belle Histoire d'Amour C'est Vous." Translation: "My greatest love story is you." Search the now-fabled moment on YouTube; we dare you to not cry. Yet the legend of Deneuve is made all the more powerful by encountering the highly pragmatic attitude of the woman herself. On that January night in Geneva, she sat in a corner of the VIP room, accepting with grace the accolades coming her way, the effusive praise for her cinematic career and impact on fashion alike. After a brief tête-à-tête with Louboutin, all laughter and whispered secrets while smoking, Deneuve consented to an interview. Why did she want to attend this party? Deneuve was simply a fan of the brand, she revealed, having met Jaeger-LeCoultre execs while presiding over the Venice Film Festival jury in 2006. "We do things together, but in a very easy, simple way. Nothing too official," she said. Perhaps that's because Deneuve, apart from her fashion-icon status, also happens to be a lover of watches. What attracts her to certain brands? "It's not the brands," she said firmly. "I just collect the watches I like." Deneuve counts Cartier, Patek Philippe, Dior and Van Cleef & Arpels among her collection, both new and vintage pieces. She may be the only actress, however, who's had a watch design based on one of her films: In 2015 Van Cleef & Arpels based its high-jewelry collection on the 1695 French fairytale Peau d'Âne; Deneuve starred in the 1970 film version. A watch in the collection depicts an enchanted forest envisioned in the story, while Van Cleef & Arpels also sponsored the film's digital restoration. The requisite question likewise revealed the laissez-faire spirit that has come to embody Catherine Deneuve. "Who are you wearing?" she was asked. Resplendent in a leopard-print coat and dress, it was clear her style choices remain thoughtfully considered. "Lanvin," Deneuve said. A pause was soon revealed as deliberate. "When Lanvin mattered." Next year we'll celebrate the 50th anniversary of Belle de Jour; this year Deneuve was received her 14th nomination for a Cesar Award, France's version of the Oscar, for Best Actress in La Tête Haute, or "Standing Tall." The title seems fitting. 212 BAL HARBOUR AN ICON STANDS TALL Catherine Deneuve—legend of style and French cinema— reveals a few secrets one night in Geneva. BY LAURIE BROOKINS Deneuve may be the only actress to have a watch design based on one of her films. In 2014 Van Cleef & Arpels based its high-jewelry collection on the French fairytale Peau d'Âne. PHOTO BY MARK ABRAHAMS. COURTESY OF TRUNK ARCHIVE

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