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Older Women Revered in France

Updated: Jul 14, 2023

Catherine Deneuve, 77, fronts new Saint Laurent campaign, proving that models don't always have to get younger and younger.

Catherine Deneuve

Deneuve is indelibly associated with Yves Saint Laurent, and worked with the legendary designer for decades. In the groundbreaking 1967 film Belle de Jour, 24-year-old Catherine Deneuve wanders the streets (and brothels) of Paris in, among other outfits, a tightly-cinched black vinyl trenchcoat. This, and all her other clothes in the movie, were made by a relatively unknown Yves Saint Laurent, who was only 31 at the time, and the film catapulted the designer to the top echelons of the Parisian style set.

So, it's entirely appropriate that half a century later the actress is once again starring in a campaign for the brand. After all, at the age of 77, she's still frequently referred to as the most beautiful woman in France.

This week, black-and-white shots were released showing Deneuve in another belted black trench coat designed by Saint Laurent, but this time by the current creative director Anthony Vaccarello. With her trademark blonde shoulder-length bob still in place, the actress looks remarkably similar to how she did in the Sixties and even holds what looks like a metallic vape – a nod, no doubt, to the chain-smoking roles she took on decades ago.

Deneuve is one of the most feted beauties of the last hundred years, but her exalted status in Parisian society is also testament to the fact that France has traditionally had a far less ageist approach to beauty than, say, the US and UK. In English-speaking countries, actresses over 45 are often no longer considered sexy in the conventional sense. So, for good reason, hats off to les francais!


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