Juliette Gréco photographer by Hedi Slimane for Saint Laurent campaign.
Speak to me of Love, or, as Juliette Gréco sings “Parlez-moi d’Amour”… I’m not sure where my head has been, but I have only heard about Juliette Gréco through the August issue of Vogue and an article about her “Paris Passion”. I was intrigued by her life and love story, and decided to search for her music – and was swept of my feet immediately when I heard her deep and sensual voice.
Juliette was Miles Davis’s lover, Orson Welles’s drinking partner and Jean-Paul Sartre’s muse. Today she is 87 years old, and still singing and glowing her unique sex-appeal. Looking at her current photos makes me wish I would look as good as her at that age! Don’t you agree?
“Gréco still looks astonishingly youthful, even though she wears no makeup, apart from her signature kohl eyeliner. This may be because she has never taken life seriously. Despite her astonishing, deep voice, she is prone to giggling like a teenager. Next to her, one can’t help feeling ancient and slow.” writes Agnès Poirier in The Guardian.
Last year Juliette (at age 86) released a new album “Greco Chante Brel” (Greco sings Brel), where she delivers 12 songs by the Belgian legend. “I met Brel in 1954,” she says. “He was a gentle genius. His world, unlike mine, is violent and coarse, but the great thing about being a woman is I don’t have to imitate him. I can be myself.”
Men were drawn to her. Women, too. Sartre wrote about her: “Gréco has a million poems in her voice,” wrote the world’s most famous intellectual. “It is like a warm light that revives the embers burning inside of us all. It is thanks to her, and for her, that I have written songs. In her mouth, my words become precious stones.”
Gréco is still in constant demand, and France’s fascination with her shows little sign of dwindling. Hedi Slimane, the fashion designer and creative director for Yves Saint Laurent, recently photographed Gréco and asked her to be YSL’s brand ambassador. And today, when she walks the streets of Paris, women of all ages stop her and tell her she’s been an inspiration to them. “Phew,” she says, roaring with laugher. “I have been useful after all.” Some even ask if they can give her a kiss. What does she say? “Please do!”
I’ve been mesmerised by Juliette from the moment I saw her photo with her staring look, black eyeliner, dark hair and bangs – and that French je ne sais quoi. Her music has taken me over; now I’m writing my new book, listening to her soothing and sensual voice, and feeling her inspiration throughout.