The legendary American actress passed away this Tuesday. A few months ago she gave one of her final interviews to Natasha Fraser-Cavassoni for the book Monsieur Dior: Once Upon a Time, which will be published on October 1st. We pay homage to this great friend of France and the house of Dior.
With her passing goes one of the last great stars of the golden age of Hollywood, whose langorous figure and intense gaze (earning her the nickname The Look) marked the history of cinema from The Big Sleep to Key Largo, via How to Marry a Millionaire. This child of the Bronx was also a fashion icon who started her career as a model. Her extraordinarily photogenic face graced the cover of the magazine Harper's Bazaar, a few years before that prestigious American fashion publication would baptize Christian Dior's first haute couture collection the "New Look". In life as on the screen the star exhibited a faultless taste, one that from the beginning made her a faithful and admiring client of the favorite couturier of the world's most beautiful actresses. The young wife of actor Humphrey Bogart (they were married 21 May 1945), she was accompanied by her husband on her transatlantic trips to Paris to attend Monsieur Dior's haute couture showings. For fervently Democratic Hollywood stars the French capital at that time was an Eldorado, a refuge of American intellectuals and black musicians fleeing McCarthyism and racial segregation, the City of Light attracting a progressive intelligentsia that included the pairing of Bogart-Bacall. In the salons of the Avenue Montaigne, Miss Bacall brought along Bogie to her joyous fittings.
It must be said that the New Look launched in February 1947 by Christian Dior ideally suited both her tall, gracious actress figure and her elegant femininity. "The Dior clothes were spectacular and made a real impression," she enthused to Natasha Fraser-Cavassoni in the book Monsieur Dior: Once Upon a Time. She went on to add: "It was impossible to ignore the new rules of elegance as set down by Dior because the New Lookmade everything else unfashionable." She wore the house's creations all throughout her career, beginning with her return across the Atlantic after the first collection. And when her husband won his Oscar in 1952, and she accompanied him to the ceremony in the Pantomime dress from the spring-summer 1951 collection. In How to Marry a Millionaire (1953), she appeared on screen in another look from the House, before posing in Vogue in another Dior summer dress. She was back at the Avenue Montaigne haute couture shows one more time, in 1993, starring in Prêt-à-Porter, famed director Robert Altman's exploration of the fashion world. A fashion icon of the cinema and a Hollywood icon at the shows, Lauren Bacall was the link between couture and the silver screen who will be deeply missed by lovers of both worlds.