THE MOMENT: Françoise Hardy

For this weekly column, writer Mishal Cazmi highlights a fashionable person, iconic item, or collaboration, and explores its influence on style and pop culture. Above, the Parisian chanteuse Françoise Hardy.

Françoise Hardy has fond memories of Paris during the ’60s and ’70s. “I am very passionate about the artistic and literary world of that period. So, obviously, for me Paris is the people who lived here in this period, all the great intellectuals and artists like Picasso, Albert Camus, Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Marcel Proust,” she told INTERVIEW magazine in October 2001.

France gave the world its share of style icons too—Coco Chanel, Brigitte Bardot, Jane Birkin and of course, Françoise Hardy herself. Born in 1944, the chanteuse began her career quietly and then quickly rose to prominence. She was a part of the yé-yé movement, France’s answer to the Beatles, led by young female singers who sang about love and longing. Hardy’s body of work also included film, modelling, and astrology (a hobby which resulted in published books).

An ethereal beauty with wispy vocals and perfectly pretty bangs, Hardy became an icon during the sixties. She was the opposite of blonde bombshell, Brigitte Bardot. Hers was a quiet beauty, which she wore with subdued confidence. Hardy also had a good relationship with clothes—whatever she wore, she wore it well.

The soulful singer’s fame extended beyond France. She established a name for herself in Britain with the release of her first album in English, the plainly titled, In English, and American audiences became familiar with her after she starred in John Frankenheimer’s Grand Prix.

Hardy is not a frequently cited muse. But when she is, she’s truly an inspiration. Case in point: Rei Kawakubo who named Hardy’s “Tous les garçons et les filles,” as the inspiration behind the name of her line, Comme des Garçons.

Though Francoise Hardy rose to great heights during the ’60s and ’70s, her influence is still being felt. In 1994, she collaborated with Brit pop band Blur for an alternate version of their song, “To The End.” French synth-pop duo Air also worked with the songstress on the song, “Jeanne.” Feist covered “L’amour ne dure pas toujours” on the UK release of her album, Let it Die. Keren Ann and Alison Goldfrapp both list the doyenne of French pop as an inspiration.

First, some lovely pics of Françoise herself.

Françoise Hardy, now.

Musicians who have been inspired, both musically (and in some cases, clearly aesthetically) by Françoise.

Keren Ann.


Alison Goldfrapp.

Further listening:

“Jeanne” by Air and Françoise Hardy.

“To the End” by Blur featuring Françoise Hardy.

“L’amour ne dure pas toujours” by Françoise Hardy.

“L’amour ne dure pas toujours” Feist’s cover.

Further viewing:

Françoise Hardy’s official website features all her videos. Our favourites: “Tous les garçons et les filles de mon âge”, “Mon amie la rose” and “Träume.”

Further reading:

Les Rythmes du zodiaque by Françoise Hardy is still in print (amazing!).

Read more of The Moment: stories on Annie Hall‘s influence, Madonna’s Gaultier cone bra, YSL & Catherine Deneuve, the iconic Hermès scarf, and Schiaparelli’s Skeleton Dress.

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