— November 22, 2012 —
Written by Natasha Fraser-Cavassoni and illustrated by Robert Beck, this column focuses on life in Paris, pepped up by the insiders who are steeped in chic
Laetitia Casta Illustration by Robert BeckSoirées in Paris can lead to the occasional memorable quip. And one of my all-time favourites is: “skin is the best accessory.” It was André Leon Talley who uttered this terrific line, lightly paraphrasing Diana Vreeland, one of his former employers and mentors. Anyway, I was reminded of his quote when catching sight of Laetitia Casta. The occasion was Chanel’s launch for their Petite Veste Noire exhibition at the Grand Palais. As per usual, the roll call of beauties was fairly fabulous – imagine Charlotte Casiraghi, Daphne Guinness, Anna Mouglalis, Anja Rubik – but La Casta stood apart. Marilyn Monroe-like, it was as if a torch was lighting her within, further armed by her soft, sweet smile. With her pale skin and curves, Laetitia defines the term ‘Belle Epoque’ beauty yet remains versatile enough to suit today’s demands.
"Soirées in Paris can lead to the occasional memorable quip. And one of my all-time favourites is: 'skin is the best accessory'"
Last summer, I interviewed Laetitia ahead of the release of Arbitrage, her first American film, which also stars Richard Gere and Susan Sarandon. To be honest, I was quite nervous. French film stars tend to be a charismatic, mercurial breed. The kind to play ‘modest me’ yet question each question in a mildly self-important manner. And Laetitia is beyond famous, having made countless hit movies as well as starting her fashion career with Le Maître: Yves Saint Laurent... However, I am delighted to report that she was thoroughly adorable, starting with the fact that she arrived early and then insisted on paying the bill – a first! I was reminded of Sophia Loren. Not because Laetitia resembles the Italian screen goddess but because she possesses the same feminine feistiness and grounded attitude. Loren was renowned for dividing her life between the public and the private. And Laetitia does the same. She is steeped in Inner Chic.
Text by Natasha Fraser-Cavassoni
Natasha Fraser-Cavassoni is a Paris-based British writer who covers fashion and lifestyle as well as being the author of Sam Spiegel – The Biography of A Hollywood Legend, Understanding Chic, an essay from the Paris Was Ours anthology, the soon-to-be released Tino Zervudachi – A Portfolio – as well as the Chanel book, for Assouline's fashion series.
Robert Beck is former New Yorker currently based in Paris. Also known as C.J. Rabbitt, he is the author and illustrator of several children's books, including The Tale of Rabbitt in Paradise, Un Lapin à Paris and the soon-to-be-published A Bunny in the Ballet.