Have a Happy Bastille Day with our Six Fave Frenchies
Everybody break out your tricolores and muskets, it’s Bastille Day! While America has the 4th of July to celebrate the kickoff of our independence, the French have Bastille Day, commemorating the official beginning of the French Revolution and modern day France as we know it. To get into the spirit of the under-appreciated holiday, the Milk Made office spent the day being thankful for the huge number of amazing French men and women who continue to be movers and shakers in global culture. So without further ado, here are our picks for our favorite Frenchies. Vive la France!
There’s foxy, there’s super-foxy, and there’s Catherine Deneuve—the Queen Mother of Foxiness. Bursting onto the film scene in the cutie-pie French musical The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, Deneuve quickly ditched the goody-two-shoes life for the blonde bombshell sex goddess reputation she has now, helped in large part to her roles as a neurotic-erotic in Repulsion and a fetish housewife in Belle de Jour. She’s also managed to star as a bisexual vampire alongside David Bowie in The Hunger and as Bjork’s mentor in Lars von Trier’s Dancer in the Dark, in total making her an actress with one of the most subversively fabulous resumes in existence.
Yves Saint Laurent
What would Bastille Day be without a little Yves? Yves Saint Laurent was one of France’s greatest designers for decades before passing away at the age of 71 a few years ago. He introduced the tuxedo suit to women’s fashion, resurrected couture from the ready to wear wasteland, and was the center of not one but two biopics last year. Although the brand controversially dropped the Yves in 2012, the brand still kills the game every season with perfectly tailored looks rich with the delicately French vibe that has been a staple of the brand and designer for decades.
Big time movie buffs will usually divide the movies into two eras: Before the French New Wave, and after it. It was a movement in film that turned everything moviemakers knew about cinema upside down, and it was kicked off with the bona fide classic Breathless, directed by our homeboy Jean-Luc Godard. Now with nearly 50 films under his belt, each one of his movies pushes narrative structure to a breaking point, and throws any conventional notions of plot, character, and even audience out the window. Seeing a Godard film is like dropping a little tab of acid, and his radically trippy influence continues to be felt from filmmakers around the world.
After her sultry and controversial starring role in the lesbian epic Blue is The Warmest Color, Léa Seydoux has become one of French cinema’s most sought after young starlets. Besides winning over hearts and minds in that film, Seydoux has also acted in Saint Laurent, about the titular badass Frenchman who is also featured on our list. Catch her as a Bond girl in the upcoming 007 film Spectre and next year in Xavier Dolan’s directorial effort It’s Only the End of the World alongside Marion Cotillard and Gaspard Ulliel. With a dominating grip on French cinema, it’s only natural to celebrate Lea Seydoux on Bastille Day.
France’s legacy is founded on the contributions of a lot of old dead dudes, but few were as influential, controversial, and downright badass as Voltaire. The man wrote poems, plays, novels, and historical accounts, but he might be best loved for his scathing critique of how terrible the Catholic Church was. It got him imprisoned and exiled out of France for most of his adult life, but it took serious balls to call out organized religion during a time when the Church had actual power. He was something like the Jon Stewart of his day, if Jon Stewart wore powdered wigs and wrote with a quill.
Your fav OG gap toothed beauty Vanessa Paradis is our Bastille Day babe. A triple threat singer, model, and actress, she has been slaying for decades in her public and personal life starting with her internationally acclaimed song “Joe le taxi,” which went No. 1 in France for eleven weeks when she was only 14 years old. At that age, most kids were just trying to be cool and steal wine coolers at the local supermarket. During the 90s she achieved fashion queen status as one of Chanel’s official spokeswomen and produced (via coitus) the Internet’s new it-girl Lily-Rose Depp with then-bae Johnny Depp in 1999. By the way, coitus means sex, y’all. She came, she flashed her famed gap-toothed, and she’s conquered it all.