We dare you to find a more iconic, inspirational (at least when it comes to designers' collections) chic and sultry babe than Catherine Deneuve in Belle de Jour—and we are fully aware that “babe” is really much too light of a word for what she is. Oh, and if you haven’t seen it, really, what are you waiting for? Luis Buñuel’s 1967 surrealist drama knocks 50 Shades of Grey right off your nightstand/Kindle and into the (e-)garbage. (Do Kindles have a “trash”? Report back.)
The film’s plot focuses on Séverine Serizy (Deneuve), a young and beautiful and seemingly together Parisienne bourgeois housewife who has vague, inexplicable intimacy issues with her otherwise perfect husband (a dreamy Jean Sorel). She experiences frequent fantasies involving domination, S&M, and bondage—and rather than lope around the streets of Paris in a serious slump of ennui, eventually opts to spend her midweek afternoons (while her husband is at work) as a prostitute in a high-end brothel. As you might guess, it doesn’t end particularly well (though, in some of our opinions, not as badly as it could have)... Anyway, the movie's pretty “don’t try this at home” as far as the plot’s concerned. But still, you need to see it. The clothes! (Mostly done by Yves Saint Laurent, who remained a close friend of Deneuve's for the rest of his life, including prim white collars and enviable knits, perfectly tailored shifts and shirt-dresses, fur-lined leather coats, and double-breasted wool jackets with epaulettes, and always, always the perfect pair of gloves...) The style! Deneuve’s Roger Vivier pilgrim-buckle flats practically relaunched the house. But above all: the beauty! The blonde bouffant and perfect complexion, the subtly pink lip, the abundantly-lashed doe eyes. Deneuve is a sophisticated and sexy 60s dream that you want to be every damn day of your liiiiiiiifffeeeeeeeeee. You see hints of Belle de Jour echoed again and again on runways every single season. EVERY SINGLE SEASON. So, let's get with the olden times (ahem...the late 1960s) and traipse down memory lane in our fur-lined outerwear and perfect coifs.
For the chic uptown-girl bouffant that's been rumpled by a few...strange bedfellows: We’d use Serge Normant's Meta Blonde Reviving Shampoo and Conditioner to amp up any blond you've got. This duo is packed with gold-enhancers that make any existing highlights gleam and might even nurture some new ones, too, and hey, for the record, Deneuve isn't a natural blonde either. Then, rub in some of Oribe's Sculpting Cream to give your hair some added guts before you break out the Velcro rollers. (Starting at the top of the scalp, wrap one-inch sections of hair around rollers and secure with hair clips, continuing in a row pattern to the nape of the neck. Set with some gotta-love-it-because-she-probably-used-it-too L'Oréal Elnett Satin Hold Hairspray, and wait five minutes.) Remove the rollers, tousle your hair, and spray again with the Elnett (you're channeling the '60s—it's never 'too much'). A chic black headband is optional. (Effortlessly cool black sunglasses and timeless lingerie? Never optional. As in: always.)
For deceptively submissive peach lips to lie to your husband through (and a long, baby-pink manicure with which to affectionately scratch his back): We like Jean Queen by Lipstick Queen, Dior Rouge Lipcolor in Pink Songe and MAC's Ravishing (which is not even to mention Nars' Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Belle de Jour). All are soft, warm pinky-nudes that won't let on that anything's wrong in your psyche, while also flattering the rest of your face. For nails, Tom Ford's Toasted Sugar tends towards the nude sophistiqué, whereas his Pink Crush plays up the ingénue. (Other picks? OPI's Glints of Glinda, Deborah Lippmann's Baby Love and Sally Hansen's Naked Ambition.)
For 'come hither' doe eyes that are alternately innocent and all-knowing: Cover the eyelid with the taupe shade from the Clé de Peau Eye Color Quad in #14, blending the brown in the crease. Trace along the upper lash line with MAC's Fluidline Gel Liner in Blacktrack, using a Small Angle Brush. For that heavy-lidded, sensual '60s thing, the more you've got going on your eyelashes the better: we recommend coating lashes with either Benefit's They're Real! Mascara or calling in the big guns (i.e., falsies), and going for Shu Uemura's False Eyelashes in Luxe Black, for a thick, serious fringe to later guiltily peek out from under. Make sure to hit up your lower lash line. Then, highlight your cupid's bow, bridge of your nose, and the inner-corners of your eyes with RMS Living Luminzer—to play up your more angelic aspects and your best angles (while you may be exercising your worst).
And voilà: the iconic heartbreaker/life-ruiner(?)/living fantasy/everything of cinema. Go have fun out there.
Images from Luis Buñel's Belle de Jour.