Catherine Deneuve is known as an exquisitely dressed woman. In recent years she bears the fleshiness of maturity, not as easy to dress at 66 as she once was. Sister, I can relate.
She wore this black dress to the Venice Film Festival premiere of "Potiche", her new film directed by François Ozon.
The voluminous draping makes her look bulky, the necklace is too conventional for the dress, the skirt clings between the thighs and hides her famous legs.
The side-view makes her look like a dowager in mourning; even she does not look pleased.
For the Toronto Film Festival screening last week, she chose a palest taupe chiffon dress that recouped her image as an elegant, discriminating star.
The "Potiche" (the title means "trophy wife") poster cheekily presents Deneuve in a red track suit (has to be a first!) but the chartreuse coatdress she wore to the film's press conference recalls the pieces St Laurent created for her in the '70s:
The lessons? When Ms Deneuve wears black, she looks best in lighter colour near the face, like this white blouse worn with a black skirt in Venice.
And if the black is not well-tailored, the supposedly slimming colour makes her (and us) look bigger.
All-black is harder to wear past 50, especially when one is a porcelain-skinned blonde. In "A Christmas Tale " she was costumed in rich taupe rather than the more demanding black. Those of us devoted to black might experiment with taupe, chocolate or navy.
Accessories are the mature black-wearer's saviour: she tames the harshness of black with a scarf near the face.
Compare that to this shot of all-black: too safe even on one of the world's acclaimed beauties.
French movie stars love the LBD; here is Marion Cotillard in hers at TIFF.
Those of us the age of Cotillard's mother may benefit from rethinking our black, though we adore it still.
A page from Mirren's (black) book
As Helen Mirren shows at "The Debt's" premiere, mature women can rock their LBD.
A trim fit, jewelry with presence (pendant, significant jeweled earrings, bangles): just gorgeous.
Mirren's hair (newly white-blonde, artfully 'messy'), the silver and black bag and sexy peep-toes all transmit her trademark allure.
As I write this, in all-black, I have paused to add a few bracelets and a pendant. The black stays, with a few tweaks for the sake of time.