Monday, 27 December 2010

10 impossibly cool women..

Hello There!

I know i've been rubbish and have not posted anything for ages and ages! But i've been sooo very busy dancing with most of you and yeah a little bit slack as well.. I know you've missed me, you keep telling me so, so this post is rather big. Indeed it's taken the best part of two days to research and put together..

A while back I discovered a blog called The Impossible Cool. The blog is just one post a day of a photograph of someone cool and iconic. It is so simple yet genius, I wish I had though of it, although I do find myself having quite a bit to say (even if half the time it is waffling) so in reality I suppose I can't see myself being so restrained.. It is pretty much biased towards the fellas though so today I thought I would make a post about who I think are the 10 coolest women of 20th and 21st century. Firstly I should say what my criteria for choosing these coolest ladies are. Well on his blog Mister Impossible Cool has a quote that reads "Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say and not giving a damn" (Gore Vidal) Style and coolness are in intrinsically linked for sure but pure coolness is something that in real terms is hard to define. What makes a person cool? I think it's entirely personal. What may seem cool to me might be totally wack to you.. Anyhow whenever I think of someone 'Cool' I think of the following things: 

Someone who has great personal style. 
Someone who has great charisma.
Someone who can deliver smart one liners with perfect timing.
Someone who lives or lived life on their own terms. 
Someone who can stylishly let a cigarette dangle from their lips without getting smoke in their face. (whenever I try this I always get smoke in my eyes. I guess I am not that cool). 
Someone who has had their picture taken by David Bailey.
Someone imortalised by Andy Warhol.
Someone who inspired someone else really cool.

So with all this in mind the following women are in my mind the coolest women ever. 

1. Kiki de Montparnasse. 

Kiki de Montparnasse (whose real name was Alice Prin) Was a French artists model and muse to many artists, most notably Man Ray ( a personal favorite of mine)  and was also an actress and successful painter in her own right. She embodies the liberated, bohemian and creative spirit of 1920's Paris.

2. Marlene Dietrich.

When I think of the word 'cool' the image of Marlene Dietrich dressed in a tux, top hat, cigarette in hand, pops into my mind. An icon during her day and still as relevant now as she ever was, I love her cross dressing style. She once said, "I dress for myself. Not for the image, not for the public, not for the fashion, not for men." The fact that she was a staunch anti-Nazi and turned down (her native Germanys) Nazi party's request to return to Germany at the start of WW2 and further stuck two well manicured (metaphorical) fingers up by becoming an American citizen in 1939 just makes her even cooler to me.

3. Lauren Bacall. 

What isn't cool about Lauren Bacall! The eyes, the pout, the style, the brilliant deliverance of smart one liners both on and off the screen. This woman is a veritable font of wit and wisdom, I could be here all day long listing my favourite Lauran Bacall quotes. It's no wonder she bagged Humphrey Bogart at the age of 19. I can't imagine that the man would have suffered a fool, not even a really hot looking fool.  

4. Jean Shrimpton.

Jean 'The Shrimp' Shrimpton is synonymous with the 60's pop culture and British style. The original Supermodel, lover and muse to David Bailey. It is often said that Bailey discovered her and he certainly helped launch her career and was very influential in her gaining the iconic status she has today but In turn, she was Bailey's muse, in which his photographs of Shrimpton also helped Bailey rise to prominence in his early career.

5. Penelope Tree.

Well the name says it all really. With a name like Penelope Tree you'd better be rather fabulous otherwise you've got a rather silly name for such an ordinary person. With her Elfin, other-worldly, almost alien like beauty she was another of David Baileys muses. He once described her as 'an Egyptian Jimminy Cricket'! She is as influential as The Beatles for inspiring the swinging 60's movement, was the original model hippy and thus totally cool (man).

6. Barbara Hulanicki.

Barbara Hulanicki was the creator of Biba, the greatest fashion brand that ever was.. Together with her husband Stephen Fitz-Simon, she created not just a clothing brand but a whole lifestyle brand and revolutionised the shopping experience for millions of teenage girls during the 60's and 70's. A heady mixture of Art Nouveau, Art Deco design reminiscent of Hollywoods golden age and some good old rock n roll decadence, Biba was the place to be and be seen. Sadly the expense of creating such a visionary retail experience led the Biba brand to encounter serious financial problems and ultimately faced closure in 1976. There has been nothing comparable since. Biba has been relaunched several times, twice headed up by designer Bella Freud and recently bought out  by House Of Fraiser but has never achieved the same success or even come close to it. This is mostly because in both cases they seem to have totally missed the point by putting on to high a price tag. It was the mix of affordable, fashionable clothes, accessories, make up and even food all served up in an extraordinary retail environment which made the Biba brand so, well, cool.

7. Anjelica Huston.

Anjelica Huston is not just a brilliant actress she is also a style icon. A muse to Helmut Newton, a muse and also short term lover to David Bailey (gets around a bit doesn't he?) and long term lover of Jack Nicholson. 

8. Jane Birkin.

In 1968 Jane Birkin left swinging London to go 'on holiday' to Paris. Whilst there she auditioned for the lead female role in Slogan and despite the fact she didn't speak a word of French she won it. She co starred with a certain MR Serge Gainsbourg and so a passionate and creative relationship between mentor and muse began. In 1984 Hermès named and designed a handbag—the Birkin bag—. Fashion legend has it that on an Air France flight from Paris to London, Jane Birkin pulled her Hermes datebook out of her bag and all her papers fell on the floor. She complained to the passenger sitting next to her that the book should have pockets. That passenger was the chairman of Hermes, Jean-Louis Dumas, and after hearing her complain he created the Birkin bag.

9. Grace Jones. 

Grace jones is an all round style and musical icon. I cannot emphasise how influential this woman is in terms of current music and fashion. Lets just say the likes of Lady Gaga and Rhianna owe an awful lot to Grace Jones..

10. Uma Thurman. 

Responsible for inspiring Quentin Tarantino (fellow cool person) and for bringing two of my all time favorite screen characters to life: Mia Wallace in Pulp Fiction and The Bride in Kill Bill. 

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