Thursday, April 21, 2011


Your intrepid reporter's job is to read stuff that you wouldn't want to read in the hope of coming up with that one revealing nugget in a bucketful of sludge. Normally, of course, I wouldn't bore you with the New York Times' latest waste of precious column-inches devoted to explaining to American women why they will never look as elegant as une vraie Parisienne (short answer: because, darling, you've never fallen out with Karl Lagersfeld after having been his top model and can't carry your 6-foot frame with only 125 pounds of flesh while consuming  "potatoes, chocolate, bonbons, wine, bread"). And then, ma chère, you probably haven't managed to hook up with Denis Olivennes:

Ms. de la Fressange’s life has not always been perfect. It turned tragic in 2006, when her husband, the Italian businessman Luigi d’Orso, died of a heart attack. She refers to the current love of her life, Denis Olivennes, a media executive, as her “fiancé,” even though they are not engaged. “ ‘Boyfriend’ sounds so childish, ‘partner’ sounds like a business. I guess I could call him, ‘the man I often see in the bedroom in the evening.’ ”

Denis Olivennes, in case you've forgotten, used to run the FNAC, then took over Le Nouvel Obs, and now heads Europe1 for Lagardère. Connected, quoi! So it's no wonder that "Ms. de la Fressange" somehow managed to get the Times to shill for her preposterous style guide. American Francophobia ceases to be a mystery when you realize that Americans are fed a steady diet of this kind of pap:

The perfect Parisienne never uses soap on her face or wears pink on her lips or goes out without makeup, even on weekends. She never buys long-stemmed flowers (too difficult to find a suitable vase), but likes to eat (“Rest assured, I do know a few size 4s.”). She washes her hair every morning. Asked if she feels like the perfect Parisienne, she replied, “Perfection is a nightmare. A great French wine would be nothing without the taste of the oak barrel or a touch of dust.” 
Gag. Blech. Aargh.


TexExile said...

The description of Ms de la Fressange as 6 ft, 125lbs, with no hips brought to mind another sort of perfect Parisienne (or perfect Parisienne wannabe). Years ago, a beautiful 20-something Parisienne from Sciences Po scolded an (American) undergrad of mine for doing too much sport. "A woman," she declared, looking disapprovingly at Mary's long-distance-runner's frame, "should have curves."

Anonymous said...

How does running keep one from having curves?
Are parisiennes supposed to be un-toned?

I'm sorry but what passes for Parisienne pretty much means "chic arrondissements" such as 3e, 6e, 7e, 16e, 17e, and I bet you'd find clones of Parisiennes along 5th avenue and in Central Park West too.

WHY does the NYT publish this kind of drivel???

Unknown said...

Two words: Elaine Sciolino. Look:

MAD said...

I followed that link and read the blurb: isn't it terrific how she "demystifies" the idea that everything done in France is a form of seduction -- I'd call that mystification actually! Stuff and nonsense....