Francoise Hardy (1944-2024)

by Christos Zabounis

She represented “une certaine idée de la France”, a certain image of France, whose name she brought to his baptismal font. She appeared on the cover ‘Paris Match’ in 1963, aged 21, with a song she wrote at the age of 18! Its title: “Tous les garcons et les filles”. The first verse reflected her daily life. “All the boys and girls my age walk down the street two by two.” Unlike the other icon of the 60s, Brigitte Bardot, she was not exuberantly sexy, with curves and plump lips, but possessed a slim figure with small breasts, slender legs and a particular hairstyle, which quickly became a fashion imitation of millions of teenagers around the world. As academic Marc Lambron wrote in her obituary, “she was fashionable before her time and before her own self.” She had an abstract style and an interiority that set her apart from her American colleagues. And no one can forget the veto set by Bob Dylan for Hardy to open his concert in Paris, otherwise he wouldn’t sing! The list of men who fell in love with her is long, but she gave her heart to her peer Jacques Dutronc, with whom she had a son. She was the muse of many fashion designers. Yves Saint Laurent gave her a tailleur-pantalon, Andre Courreges a miniskirt, and Paco Rabanne a metallic dress. Saying goodbye to her, I choose a prophetic, relatively recent, song of hers, “Partir quand même”. I highlight the following verse: “And yet to leave at the most powerful moment, to break the chains that bind you to your fate.” She wrote it for her husband when they separated, but after her death it may have another interpretation.

Photo by Jean Marie Perier