The first time I saw Catherine Deneuve was when I watched Belle de Jour a few years ago, as a wannabe fashion design student hungry for inspiration. I'd probably seen her earlier somewhere on Pinterest, but that movie was my proper introduction to the french actress and, in a way, the number one reason I immediately think of her every time someone asks me about my style icons nowadays.
Movies have always influenced the way I shop and see the world, and while some of that influence has come from their fictional characters, most of it is in the powerful hands of the actresses who've managed to stay iconic (and incredibly stylish) throughout the years, regardless of the movies they were in. Catherine is one of them, and from Belle de Jour and Manon 70 to The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, she has reinvented herself time and time again, adopting the timeless french style we've come to love but with her own sexy, first lady off-duty twist. These are some of her style lessons.
1. The only makeup you need is a pair of blue sunglasses
This is a picture of Catherine in Manon 70, which, if you're wondering, was the movie that influenced Non Manon's name. She wears these amazing chocolate brown pieces all throughout the movie - there's sweaters, leather jackets, and fur coats à la Jackie Kennedy -, but the most memorable look to me was this one, with the blue sunglasses. I love sunglasses, and I love how classy she looks in this funky pair. Plus, the lenses are light enough so you can wear them inside as well. #doublewin
2. When in doubt, put a bow on it (and don't be afraid to go big)
Catherine's style was classic, but she wasn't a minimalist - nor someone who necessarily liked to keep things simple. The french actress knew when it was time to go big, and she did so frequently in black tie events. Bows, however - sometimes big, sometimes smaller, but almost always black - were her signature accessory and something that perfectly complemented her big, bouncy blonde hair.
3. White shirts must be worn half-open - and preferably without a bra
Catherine in Liza will give you all the beachwear inspo you need, especially if you don't intend to wear any. It's no secret that french women are masters when it comes to pulling off the classic staples from her husbands' closets, and the actress does just that with plain white linen shirts in this movie from the seventies.
4. Let your stocking do all the talking
There's no reason for a little black dress to look boring when your tights are actually the center piece of the look. Catherine did this a lot during the sixties and seventies - she put on a short, simple dress, most of the times black, and then added printed tights or knee high socks for a fun touch. It's a great way to make sure you wear your most versatile pieces as much as you can, while keeping things fun with the accessories.
5. (Thrifted) Fur is your best friend
Sure, Catherine's fur probably wasn't fake or thrifted, but now that we have both options, there's no excuse to feel cold in the winter. The actress loved fur hats, stoles and coats, and her fur always looked fluffy and immaculate against her shiny hair and short dresses. Fur hats are a big statement, so maybe it's time we bring them back. The bigger, the better.
All pictures are from Pinterest.