Lou Doillon



From The Times
March 5, 2008
My life in Fashion: Lou Doillon



by Nicola Copping


Lou Doillon, 25, is the daughter of Jane Birkin, the British actress and singer, and the film director Jacques Doillon. A one-time muse of Givenchy, she is known for her quirky and eccentric style. She has collaborated with Lee Cooper to design six denim-based collections over three years, the first of which is launched exclusively at Harrods this week.
As a child, I loved dressing up. I didn't know the Jane Birkin of the Seventies, when she was doing Playboy and going out every night. I was raised by a mother who was only doing humanitarian causes.
I come from a crazy aristocratic family. There was something of a P.G. Wodehouse madness about it - wearing top hats to have tea. It was Alice in Wonderland and J.M. Barrie put together.
I was raised in a room that was black, with an old four-poster bed and a sink from the Orient Express. It was a big house hidden behind four enormous doors. I was surrounded by curios - a little shoe of Marie Antoinette's that Serge Gainsbourg gave my mother, old pianos, stuffed animals. My crazy uncle talked about chaos theory until 4am. I was the classic daughter of a star.
I remember sounds, people screaming, being hidden under my mother's fur coats. In all the pictures you can see my little feet poking out from underneath. It's the sound of fame that I remember.
Ever since childhood I have been paranoid about being the daughter of someone famous.The only way to do battle with that is to work my a*** off so I can confront people.
With Lee Cooper I am designing everything from the start. They said, “You don't have to do it, we can do it for you” - but I said no, I want to learn. It's my name written in those trousers, I want to be proud of it. I can't let someone else do it.
I can't say I don't want fame. I take great pleasure in being seen. It's a thrill when you're in one of those families where everyone is recognised. I don't want to live the life of a star, but I'm constantly taking the Tube and the bus and being spotted - I guess I enjoy it, though, or I'd be hiding in black cars with tinted windows instead.
English and French style differs in its humour. In England you laugh at yourselves, in France we laugh at others. That's what you find in fashion, too. In France there is a wonderful elegance: on the Metro, in any railway carriage, there is more style than in any other country in the world.
French girls know themselves; they don't follow trends. Girls like me who have no boobs have always dressed like boys, wearing open tuxedos with nothing underneath.It's wonderfully classy and elegant but, at the same time, there's a lack of humour.
I'm p***ed off that we have a President who is wearing Prada. I was always glad to know that the President wasn't looking at himself in the mirror in the morning.
People are mocking Sarkozy because he is with Carla Bruni. I have no problem with this girl, and it's not because he's with her that suddenly I don't like the bloke. I just find it appalling that everyone supported him when he was making very wrong moves. Now, just because he's married to her, everyone hates him. There are much more interesting reasons for hating him than her.
In London I feel more confident. My son and I start the day in Paris dancing to rock'n' roll music - we have top hats, and beads in our hair - but we put on our casual clothes to go out. In London we wouldn't change. When you're famous in France and wearing top hats at 9am, they don't like you. The French prefer you to be subtle.
I love going to New York. No one cares there. I go to Starbucks in an enormous hat, dressed up as a boy, with a fake moustache. Everyone says: “What a lovely moustache.”

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