The director of the Paris Opera Ballet tells AnOther about her maternal grandmother, Simone Dupont, who once attended the ballet in “sparkling sneakers and a Chanel suit”
“She was called Simone but my nickname for her was ‘ma douce’, which means ‘my soft’, and she was my best friend until the end of her life, aged 96. She taught me so much about femininity, and men, and sex; I could talk about everything with her. I would have dinner once a week in her apartment, and we would talk about life. Most of the time it was about my love affairs – I never knew if I should stay with my boyfriend – and she always had good advice. Actually she was right, always. She took care of herself. She was very chic and I remember once when she was older she said: ‘My feet hurt!’ and I said: ‘You should just buy some sneakers!’ I thought she wouldn’t do it, but she came to Paris Opera in sparkling sneakers and a Chanel suit! She was laughing so much; she thought it was the best style.”
Aurélie Dupont was ten when in 1983 she enrolled in Paris Opera’s School of Ballet and 16 when she joined the company. After her performance as Kitri in a revival of Rudolf Nureyev’s production of Don Quixote, Dupont became the company’s Étoile, a title she enjoyed for 17 years and which many claim can never really be relinquished. Of course, her treasured maternal grandmother Simone Dupont came often to see her dance. As Dupont steps into the role of director, she has made clear that the new generation of dancers who drive Paris Opera Ballet’s international reputation will be front and centre in her vision. A prime moment to embark, perhaps, on a matriarchal mission of her own.
Hair Christian Eberhard at Julian Watson Agency; Make-up Adrien Pinault at Management Artists using MAC Cosmetics; Photographic assistant Dani Bastidas; Styling assistants Rebecca Perlmutar, Samia Giobellina, Natalia Fuentes; Make-up assistant Manon Sabot; Post-production Labyrinth Photographic; Production Mini Title; Special thanks to Studio Rouchon Paris.
This article originally appears in AnOther Magazine S/S17.