Catherine the Great

I guess I should be ashamed to say my getting to know Catherine Deneuve was via her marrying photographer David Bailey in 1965. As a younger man, I was totally obsessed with the 1960s and the ‘who was the partner of whom’ part of that decade, came as standard. So, I was intrigued to know more of this actress  who  had married the celebrated photographer.

She was born Catherine Dorleac in occupied France in 1943, the daughter of actors Maurice and Renee. Being born into the business, she became a child actress, making her first film at the tender age of 12.

In the decades to come, she would go on to work with many of the great directors in the world of film, with much of her most celebrated work being from around the mid 60s period,  including  for Roger Vadim in ‘L’Hommes a Femmes’ in 1960, for Roman Polanski in ‘Repulsion’ in 1965 and Luis Bunuel in both ‘Belle de Jour’ in 1967 (dressed by Yves St Laurent)  and ‘Tristana’ in 1970.

In 1980, she appeared alongside Susan Sarandon and David Bowie in the Tony Scott film ‘The Hunger.’ Her body of work then continued through a diverse selection of films, including working with the singer Bjork on the musical ‘Dancer in the Dark’ by Lars Von Trier and appearing over ten times in films with Gerard Depardieu, including ‘The Last Metro’ and Le Choix des Armes.’

In many of her various roles over the years, she has appeared to exert a cool detached vibe to many of the films. Like a sort of there, but not completely there, element of control, combined with a high level of intelligence that often also feels evident. The classic example of this for me is her role as Séverine in ‘Belle de Jour’ as an normal everyday housewife who works in a brothel by day. 

Away from the camera, she is fluent in English and Italian  and she is a practising Roman Catholic. She told Bailey that their divorce in 1972, after they split up in 1967, ‘was a good thing, meaning now that they could become lovers.’

Never marrying again herself,  she had long term relationships including with  director Roger Vadim and the actor Marcello Mastroianni with who she had her children Christian and Chiara, respectively.

In late 2019, Deneuve suffered a mild stroke and after being a heavy smoker all her life, she has long since given up her 3 packs a day smoking habit.

She re- appeared at Cannes in 2021, looking remarkably well and she continues to live in Paris

The Mumper of SE5



The Autumn / Winter 2021 collection is now available in our shop

Highlights include style MITTOO – two new colours are now available in this 100% cotton knitted collared cardigan, pure modernist aesthetic.

Available in Brown & Sailor Blue



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