Ringo Starr & Sylvie Vartan.
As a bottle blonde myself I’m always looking for heroes, especially as of late with the urge to go dark becoming something of a monkey on my back. But then, like a platinum oracle, I discover another blonde to idolize and the regular trips to the salon for the double process and the relentless damage melt away. Magic! My blonde muse-du-jour, in case you were wondering, is the French chanteuse Sylvie Vartan. Hugely successful in the 60s, you couldn’t find a more quintessential Yé-Yé girl (those saccharine French teen pop singers from the 60s—Françoise Hardy, France Gall, etc). Sylvie was the blonde to rival Bardot and that she did. I suppose in the English speaking world Brigitte’s legacy triumphed but at the time the petite Sylvie’s were quickly replacing the petite Brigitte imitators up and down the Champs-Elysées and beyond— out with the sex kitten bouffant, in with the china doll bob. Her fame was so immense, in fact, she shared a bill with The Beatles in 1964 at the famed Paris Olympia venue. She was quite the fashion plate too (more so than the already fashionable yé-yé standard), regularly outfitted in Yves Saint Laurent and Dior by Marc Bohan, having appeared on the covers of Vogue and Elle, and creating her own fashion line in 1965. Lots of ink (or pixels, more accurately) have been spilled so-to-speak on her work in the 60s, though Sylvie enjoyed quite a long career in French pop culture throughout the 70s and into the 80s, particularly as one half of France’s “golden couple” in her marriage to singer Johnny Hallyday. While the bob grew out, the blonde remained, leaving us decades of peroxide-soaked images to pour over. I’ll stave off the sable locks for now.
(L) Sylvie Vartan and Brigitte Bardot. (R) Sylvie filming Jolie Poupée, 1968.
(L) Sylvie Vartan by Patrick Bertrand, 1969. (R) Sylvie Vartan being fitted by Yves Saint Laurent.
(L) Sylvie Vartan, late 60s. (R) Sylvie Vartan, 60s.
Sylvie Vartan, 1968.
(L) Sylvie Vartan in YSL jumpsuit, 1970s. (R) Sylvie Vartan, 70s.
(L) Sylvie Vartan, l'Oise, 1977. (R) Sylvie Vartan, Los Angeles, 1976.