Saturday, April 19, 2008

Great Old Ladies


On the street, I love spying on Little Old Ladies - their dainty steps, their classic elegance. I also love Great Old Ladies, the ones who despite their age, are still fresh in the way they create art, like Louise Bourgeois who is currently feted at the Centre Pompidou, like Vivienne Westwood, Joan Didion, or the regal Vanessa Redgrave, who is beautifully profiled in the April issue of the British Vogue.
Who's your favorite Great Old Lady?

UPDATE: Hours after I posted about Great Old Ladies, I learnt the death at age 100 of Germaine Tillion, WW2 Résistance fighter, concentration camp survivor and great anthropologist; read more in the Comments section.

21 comments:

Kitt said...

I have a fondness for Jeanne Moreau. I was just thinking about her the other day as I was reading Marguerite Duras' memoir, "The War." I always think of them together because of Moreau's role in "The Lover."

Anonymous said...

my mum

Laura said...

old ladies ... difficult, sometimes difficult.

Mary-Laure said...

LAURA - yes, I know what you mean! Si sabré, che!

pve design said...

I adore ladies of every age, but the "Grand Dames" are ones who impart so much, my Mother has a 103 year old friend and she is amazing! I always love the accessories they sport with confidence and "Vivre!"

pve design said...

Brooke Astor!!!!!

Mary-Laure said...

GERMAINE TILLION DIES AT AGE 100

Hours after I posted about Great Old Ladies, I learnt the death of Germaine Tillion:

PARIS (AP) — Germaine Tillion, a French World War II Resistance fighter and celebrated anthropologist, died Saturday, her association said. She was 100.

Tillion, who wrote about her experiences in a Nazi camp, died at her home in Saint-Mande, located in the Paris region, said the head of the Germaine Tillion Association, Tzvetan Todorov.

Tillion — who was sent in 1943 to the Nazi camp for women and children in Ravensbruck, Germany, for her work with France's underground Resistance network — was the recipient of the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor, one of France's highest distinctions. She was one of only five women to have received such an honor, the government said.

She wrote extensively about her experiences in the camp, revisiting through her work the place where her mother died, according to a biography appearing on her association's Web site.

In a 1988 book on the camp, Tillion wrote that she had managed to survive "thanks to luck, to anger, to the desire to bring these crimes to light, and, finally, to the bonds of friendship."

After the end of World War II, Tillion devoted herself to documenting the history of France's Resistance to German occupation. She was also a prominent voice against the French colonial presence in Algeria and spoke out against torture.

Snobber said...

whooo louise!

edith sitwell was always one of my favorites. but i think viv westwood is a current love of mine.

Esti said...

My favourite great old lady is my Grandmother. She's so elegant and have the most perfect skin!

thesil said...

Sofia Loren!

design for mankind. said...

Awwwww... bless Tillion.

miss cavendish said...

My last comment was lost in the internet ether! Here goes again: I like Lauren Bacall and Kate Hepburn; Georgia O'Keefe and Josephine Baker.

karina said...

I think Louise Bourgeois is incredible.
Are you going to the Pompidou?

Solange said...

Wow, you bring up such interesting things. I just returned from my paris trip and didn't go and see this...what a pitty, but hey, you can't see everything in a few days I guess...

have a good week,

Solange

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Mary-Laure said...

I love all the Great Old Ladies you mention, dear readers. Sofia Loren, Laren Bacall, Vivienne Westwood (one of My Icons in the left column of this blog), Brooke Astor... Hurray for all of them!

ETSI - ah, my great grandmother died at age 100 with the softest, most flawless skin... Isn't it wonderful...

KARINA - I haven't seen the exhibition because museums like the Louvre or the Centre Pompidou are typically SOOOOOOOO crowded that it really ruins it for me.
I usually go to smaller shows at art galleries or less packed places, like the Fondation Cartier.

artycho said...

My grandmother (bonne-maman) will be 102, she was never very close to us as kids but with aging she has become very thoughtful, caring and loving, she is to me now a great old lady no contest!

Bitterbetty said...

My grandma and Helen Hayes.

tangobaby said...

What a wonderful post. I want to learn more about these grande dames. Unfortunately mine have have passed on, but they are Madeleine L'Engle and Julia Child.

MISS GLITZY said...

Well Vanessa Redgrave is one of my favourite with Danielle Darrieux and Jeanne Moreau. I think I admire old ladies who don't give up and are still creative and full of life and projects.

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