PLAYING A NEW ROLE

PLAYING A NEW ROLE

With a bright smile and piercing eyes, Andie MacDowell, 60, has lost none of the charm that that made men swoon and women itching to be like her. Remember her in Four Marriages and a Funeral, Groundhog Day and Green Card? Even though she stepped away from the big screen to raise her children in California, she found a way to be close to fashion. We chatted with her about the capsule collection she designed for Un Jour Ailleurs.

Excerpts:

When did you first develop an interest in fashion?

At 20, when I first started working as a model. I moved away from South Carolina to find work in New York, and then moved again to Paris where I lived for 18 months. It was the same time when I made it to the cover of L’Officiel. I, who was so American, walking about all day in my jeans and t-shirt, learnt how to put paint on my nails and, of course, lipstick. And red lipstick at that. It was also when I truly understood why French women where so fascinating to the rest of the world. They are naturally chic, thanks to their attention to detail.

Isn’t that what you were looking to bring with this collection for Un Jour Ailleurs ?

I was very honoured that they thought of me when they could have so easily chosen one who was a lot younger than me. I appreciate this choice at their end, very intelligent to take this stance during a time when one must continually remind oneself that getting older does not mean death. Moreover I adored the pieces they offered me, they absolutely reflected my style: classic yet comfortable.

And what, from your experiences and time as an actor, influenced this collaboration?

Most of the characters I had an opportunity to play were of gentle, loveable and accessible women. The look of this collection has a similar essence. They are absolutely comfortable and affable.

If you were to choose a single piece form this collection, what would it be?

The polka dotted dress, it is very French. Everything about it is soft and feminine.

Which era, in terms of fashion, had inspired you the most?

I think I am partial to the 1950s — classic designs but audacious, absolutely passionate.

What is your definition of elegance?

To be yourself. Style is a personal expression, a state of being. It is equally for that reason that I make certain not to judge, irrespective of what one’s look is. Especially nowadays, where people are sifted through the piercing opinion and looks of others. Clothes are just another way, like all others, to appreciate life, the same as a good meal or a lovely walk.

According to you, is the durability of cloth essential to the protection of our environment, a cause to which you are quite attached?

Yes, that is precisely why I am glad to be collaborating with Un Jour Ailleurs. The fabrics and materials used are of very good quality, the farthest from being part of industrial chain production. They are all pieces that one would want to last and they do. From an ecological point of view, we should not be okay with use and throw clothing.

What fashion advice do you give to your daughters?

The first is, of course, that they remain independent. And that they do not deprive themselves of it. Rainey is a singer, she has more of a rock’n’roll style, more eccentric. I prefer to not interfere. When it comes to Margaret, I always advise her to wear short skirts, she has such beautiful legs. But to no avail, she likes nothing but long dresses. The other day, she proudly announced that she had worn a pair of shorts for a show, and I congratulated her!

Among actresses, who would be a model for you?

Jane Fonda, for whom I have tremendous admiration. I love observing those older than me and at 80 she is simply magnificent. If only I could be like her at that age!

You appear very zen about having turned 60. What is the secret of your serenity?

Never ask for more attention than that which you have earned and cultivate confidence in yourself. Even at 60, it is paramount. I also exercise a lot. Sport is a part of my everyday life. It is beneficial for the mind just as much as it is for the body.

Chitman Kanwar Ahuja

Chitman Kanwar Ahuja is a feature writer at L'Officiel India. She is a silver jewellery hoarder and an aesthete of all arts. You can find her unraveling new stories day in and day out.