The Crush Letter No 107

. 12 min read

I'm Dish and I write a weekly newsletter about life, love, and culture for those 40+.  Because midlife and beyond is so much cooler than they said it would be.  Hell yes, sign me up for the Dish.


Hello Crush,

It's April 1st, so I am dreaming of Paris because April and Paris are synonymous. This, even though when I've been to Paris in April it rained the whole time. And it is in tumult at the moment. But Paris is really about a fantasy that's always inviting.

Here is a shot from a recent trip to Paris.


In This Letter.   +The Mystique of French Beauty and How to Get It. By Laura Weinstein Throughout history, the French have been captivating and challenging the beauty aesthetic.    +French Women Don’t Get Facelifts: The Secret of Aging with Style and Attitude: Mireille. Reviewed by Evie Arnaude Guiliano "This is a fun book full of potential tips and tricks, and important reminders that getting older is beautiful in and of itself."  +Favorite French Accounts to Follow Longing for a little ‘ooh la la’? We share five Instagram accounts to give you your daily dose.   {Re-shares}   +Jules & Jim PrimeCrush & Chill    +'Merci’!' to Emily In Paris for One of the Most Compelling Women in Pop Culture. Sylvie. By Dish Stanley    +French Kiss: French Women Do It Better, Right? By Lady Verity    +Song of the Week Mon coeur qui bat a chaque foils que he te vois


The Mystique of French Beauty and How to Get It. By Laura Weinstein

Want to look and feel French wherever you are? Here’s how to capture that special je ne sais quoi.

Lately, I find myself craving and indulging in anything and everything French, with the exception of lighting up and puffing a Gitanes. For breakfast, I’m eating a baguette, smeared with Nutella instead of a bagel and cream cheese. During dinner, I find myself slowly sipping a velvety red French pinot noir while listening to Charles Aznavour sing his melancholy classic, “La Boheme” on my vintage turntable.

I blame this current fascination on my recent binge watching of Emily in Paris. The show is a beautifully wrapped fantasy, flooding my senses with opulent locations that could only belong to The City of Light and the colorful, often over the top, fashion choices. Ogling the jaw dropping beauty of the entire cast, I wonder if everyone in Paris is that c’est magnifique? Not to mention the sizzling performance by Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu who portrays, badass boss, Sylvie Grateau in all her steely, glorious, feminine power.

The French have an edge, a seemingly nonchalant, effortless beauty sensibility. It’s an elusive quality that’s coveted yet difficult to pin down. I may not be a total Francophile — yet — but I have been inspired to reevaluate my views on beauty and attempt to adapt some French flair into my choices and routines. Throughout history, the French have been captivating and challenging the beauty aesthetic for centuries, from the lavish excess of Marie Antoinette to the minimalism of actress Lea Seydoux.

Whether you prefer the stereotype blonde bombshell Brigitte Bardot, or the allure of the beret wearing beatnik, Francoise Hardy, there is more to French beauty than a casual swipe of quintessential classic Chanel red matte lipstick or a flick of black eyeliner. The looks may be unique, but they share a style that exudes unapologetic, self-confidence and acceptance.

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French Women Don’t Get Facelifts: The Secret of Aging with Style and Attitude: Mireille Guiliano. Reviewed by Evie Arnaude

"This is a fun book full of potential tips and tricks, and important reminders that getting older is beautiful in and of itself."

Before we discuss Mireille Guiliano’s 2013 French Women Don’t Get Facelifts, we have to agree that this, like many books of its kind, is not meant to be a blanket statement about beauty, or create a regional hierarchy, or even a condemnation about plastic surgery. This is a fun book full of potential tips and tricks, and important reminders that getting older is beautiful in and of itself.  

A follow-up to 2004’s French Women Don’t Get Fat and 2006’s French Women for All Seasons (and there have been many more since), this book continues the franchise of tidy tidbits of advice on how to age gracefully. Though “facelifts” is in the title, it’s the subhead that represents the book’s overall sentiment: The Secret of Aging with Style and Attitude. While all regions have their own special something, French women have always possessed “that thing” we’ve wanted to bottle for centuries.

What is, perhaps, distinctly French (aside from Guiliano’s ever-charming very-frank phrasing), is the overall acceptance of aging throughout the centuries in France, a place known for its beauty and style. It was Carrie Fisher who famously said, "Men don't age better than women, they're just allowed to age.” A member of an industry that demands women stay young and beautiful in order to work, most of you reading this right now are possibly members of a community that demands you are young and beautiful, also. (Are you one of the oldest members on your management team, for instance?) The pressures to retain and long and forgotten youth are everywhere, even if we’re not aware of them.

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PrimeCrush & Chill: Movies Worth A Re-Watch

Jules and Jim (1962)

Prime Video

Starring: Jeanne Moreau, Oskar Werner, Henri Serre

Released: January 23, 1962 (USA)

Basic Plot: Just before World War I, Austrian writer Jules (Oskar Werner) befriends French Jim (Henri Serre), and both fall head over heels for carefree and beautiful Catherine (Jeanne Moreau). The three form an undoubtedly love triangle, but it’s Jules who marries Catherine, in a doomed union. After the war, Jim reconnects with Jules and Catherine, even beginning a relationship with Catherine with Jules’s consent. But it seems there is no chance for contentment for these three—let alone happiness—and they will never relive those magical early days before the war. Eventually, Catherine drives herself and Jim off a bridge to their death, while Jules watches.

Why Re-watch: Directed, co-written and co-produced by François Truffaut, in 1962, Jules and Jim won the Grand Prix of French film, the Étoile de Cristal, with Jeanne Moreau taking home the best actress award. The film would go on to revolutionize the world of cinema.

As the story goes, François Truffaut discovered the novel Jules et Jim in a bookstore and sought out the writer, Henri-Pierre Roché, for his consent to make it into a film. It wasn’t until he was 74 did he publish Jules et Jim, his first novel. (He’d publish another, his second and last in 1956, before passing away in 1959. Roché was an artist and writer and part of Paris’s bohemian scene, said to have introduced Gertrude Stein to Picasso. He would not live to see the never-ending success of Jules and Jim, as the film premiered a few short years after his death.
The reason this is significant, is because Jules et Jim was Henri-Pierre Roché’s semi-autobiographical story. By the time his book was published in 1953, no doubt Roché had made some peace with the story of three people who loved each other without taboo—but the world of the 1950s had not. When you re-watch this exquisite film, you’re sure to be taken by the frankness they all have to express their emotions, their love, their devotion to one another. The story and its issues—particularly its portrayal of Catherine—are a source of endless debate. It would seem love between three people will forever spark interest, and this film will continue to inspire forever.

'Merci’!' to Emily In Paris for One of the Most Compelling Women in Pop Culture. Sylvie. By Dish Stanley

Yes, we've seen other compelling women over 50 in major shows. But in Season 3 of Emily In Paris, Sylvie becomes a multi-faceted stick of dynamite, and one of the most riveting women to watch on television.

{Alert: NO SPOILERS here.}

Women of a certain age finally got the sex in the city we were looking for. It was not from Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda (or Samantha of course), and not in New York. Nor was it from the Darren Star series we expected to find it in, notwithstanding the love-hate relationship we’ve developed with the Sex and the City series.

Sylvie Grateau, the French advertising powerhouse from Emily In Paris, was the unexpected delight we got this holiday season. She’s the reason to partake in Season 3 of what is otherwise a light confection sprinkled with powdered sugar in the form of picture-perfect postcards of the City of Light. (Which postcards, admittedly, are magnifique!)

In Season 3 Sylvie’s role evolves from the thinly sketched archetype and side character she was in Season 1. A stereotypical female boss with a predictable frosty French attitude toward the ebullient and colorful young American, Emily. She has developed into a multi-faceted stick of dynamite who is at once ruthless, arrogant, principled, selfish, loving, vulnerable, chic, and a purely French femme fatale. Admired, sought after, and feared, she rose to the level of legit co-star, outshining Emily. Quelle surprise!

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5 Favorite French Accounts to Follow

Longing for a little ‘ooh la la’? Here are five Instagram accounts to give you your daily dose.

@carolinedemaigret

Whether it’s Paris Fashion Week or just hanging out with some of her famous friends, this late-40s model/music producer channels all the confident, grown-up cool-girl vibes. And if you haven’t already, pick up her most-recent book, Older, But Better, But Older. This account is that book in action.

@parisianvibe

As I write this, the latest photo on this Instagram account features a street view into an artist’s studio, with a sliver of a painting through an open window. It’s a glorious mixed bag of all aspects of French culture, from vintage interviews, to films, to tips on how to wear red lipstick.

@voguefrance

Yes, this is fashion-focused. But we’re following for the aspirational “little extra” that France brings to just about everything. “Le Street Style” might be our current favorite segment, stopping folks on the streets of Paris to dissect their outfits is so satisfying, even when we don’t know what they’re saying.

@loudoillon

Follow Jane Birkin and French film director Jacque Doillon’s singer/musician daughter through her quiet adventures all over the world, including those as a recent second-time mom at 40 years old. An avid reader, she shares book recommendations and showcases beautiful line drawings on her InstaStories.

@paris

Did you know Paris has its own Instagram? Experience all the beauty the city has to offer, one Instagram postcard at a time.

French Kiss: French Women Do It Better, Right? By Lady Verity

Wrong. Six myths debunked.

Like Botticelli’s Venus, a French woman appears as if she’s sprung forth effortlessly from the doorstep of her slate-roofed abode. Nothing is further from the truth.

Even though they’re among the most particular and high maintenance creatures on the planet, outwardly French women practice nonchalance -- think UK-born Jane Birkin or Charlotte Gainsbourg in oversize sweaters and unbrushed locks. The key to unlocking the mystique of the French woman is summed up in one word: seduction. They’re masters, um, mistresses, at seducing you and everyone else into thinking they do it (and everything) better. Time to debunk six erroneous myths.

Myth: French women are the chicest on the planet

The average French woman has a tiny closet or freestanding inherited bureau that holds her wardrobe. She’ll splurge on one or two costly items every season and wear these pieces to the ground, as in seven days a week, until they disintegrate. The art of French style means: no matchy-matchy ever -- except for undergarments — and is inspired by the aforementioned closet restrictions. Whatever else is at hand—relatively clean and un-ironed—is worn with the expensive pieces. Voila!

Myth: French women have better hair and skin and…

In all fairness, the French do make brilliant skincare products like affordable Embryolisse or pricey Biologique Recherche, so French women spend their money on skincare and would never dream of rinsing their face with tap water. Maybe they do have better skin but that’s because of all the humidity in the air. As for makeup, they wear it strategically and less is more, which makes for an overall fresher skin appearance. When it comes to hair, it’s not better. Variations of bedhead are the look, so many French women braid their hair wet and sleep on it. The next day when they unfurl the braids, their hair appears shag & brag voluminous.

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Song of the Week

Le Coeur by Freedom Fry (2016 Live Performance)

Listen to Le Couer by Freedom Fry here

Freedom Fry is a French duo, Marie Seyrat and Bruce Driscoll, married and now living in L.A. According to this article in American Songwriter Freedom Fry Are Churning Out French-Pop Disco Stunners From Their Backyard Studio, they started when Driscoll wanted to come up with a way to turn his wife’s beautiful French lyrics into song.

I’ve enjoyed getting to know this duo ever since I learned about them during a December solo trip to Paris. Le Coeur means “heart” in English and the first two lines translated to English  is “My heart beats every time I see you / It gets carried away and it ignites … “


Mon coeur qui bat a chaque foils que he te voisI’ll s‘’embalmed et il s’enflamme

TOPIX - A Series: Exile in Normalville
TOPIX is our way of getting opinionated, courageous conversations started on what living and loving really looks like in midlife now.
‘Merci’!’ to Emily In Paris for One of the Most Compelling Women in Pop Culture. Sylvie.
Yes, we’ve seen other compelling women over 50 in major shows. But in Season 3 of Emily In Paris, Sylvie becomes a multi-faceted stick of dynamite, and one of the most riveting women to watch on television.
French Kiss: French Women Do It Better, Right? By Lady Verity
Wrong. Six myths debunked. By Lady Verity Like Botticelli’s Venus, a French woman appears as if she’s sprung fortheffortlessly from the doorstep of her slate-roofed abode. Nothing is furtherfrom the truth. Even though they’re among the most particular and high maintenance creatures onthe plane…
French Women Don’t Get Facelifts: The Secret of Aging with Style and Attitude: Mireille Guiliano. Reviewed by Evie Arnaude
Before we discuss Mireille Guiliano’s 2013 French Women Don’t Get Facelifts, we have to agree that this, like many books of its kind, is not meant to be a blanket statement about beauty, or create a regional hierarchy, or even a condemnation about plastic surgery. This is fun

Have a wonderful week, CRUSH.

Dish Stanley XO,
Dish


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