French model and actress Lou Doillon tells Nandini Nair about her “chameleon life”
Until the age of seven, she thought that the Venice International Film Festival, which coincided with her birthday, was in her honour. She wept and howled on her seventh birthday, when her parents did not take her there, as she felt she’d been denied her celebrations. This is Lou Doillon. The daughter of famous and controversial English actress and director Jane Birkin and prolific French film director Jacques Doillon.
In the city recently as the face of her own jeans wear collection Lou Doillon by Lee Cooper, Lou unleashes her design beliefs and life tales. “I want to bring back the younger woman’s opinion to jean wear,” she says. As a Givenchy model and the current Pirelli calendar girl, Lou brings her signature rebellious style to the line. Seated at The Oberoi, without a dab of makeup, Lou says she has been involved in the process from the drawing board stage, to working with prototypes to visiting the factories. “I didn’t want to just sell my name,” she asserts. While she is often described as the French Kate Moss, she makes clear that she loves chic basics, “There’s not one great designer who is not doing jeans.” To Lee Cooper’s line, she brings “ridiculously high waists with tiny shorts”. Tossing her unkempt hair, she says, “Shorts make you feel naked. But high-waists make you feel dressed.”
With no plans of starting her own line, she hopes to continue with such tie-ups. But she might consider doing her own accessory collection of unique pieces.
While she started her acting career as her mother’s daughter in Kung-Fu Master (1987), at five years, she says she is not a child star. Her first movie was an independent one, and her next was her father’s movie, nearly ten years later. While she comes from cultural aristocracy, she says her father ensured she had a “normal” childhood. She went to public schools and travelled by metro. But a “chameleon” is what describes her. She elaborates, “My mother is from an aristocratic rock ’n roll family. My father is from the German working class. My two grandmothers are totally opposite. One used to live in a house with no bathroom. The other would wear Givenchy at home.” Hailing from these varied backgrounds, she says, “I came from this madness. I was roaring with energy.”
This energy has taken different forms. Be it her love for pink stockings, or her affiliation for tattoos. Or her wonder for the lack of fashion laws in India.
A passion for literature and history has also led her to stage the love letters of famous authors recently. She recently travelled through France with this one-actor play.
Lou might have spent only four days here but loves the over-layering, colours and Indian fabrics. Her relationship with the country stretches back further. Her father used to escape here often. Her six-year-old son has asked her to meet Ganesha in India. When she told him that would be improbable, he replied, “But he is the god who makes everything possible.” Stumped by his reply, she plans to take back the animated Ganesha movie for him!