Let Icons Be Icons: Joan Didion for Céline

Of all the silver-haired queens on the scene today, none is as surprising to bump into as Joan Didion in an ad for Céline. The reclusive novelist, screenwriter, emotional explorer, and literary beacon for scores of would-be essayists (who didn’t want to write the next Slouching Towards Bethlehem?) is seen in her trademark oversized sunglasses and simple sweater, as well as a large pendant necklace seemingly heavier than the icon herself.

Didion was immortalized in the beatnik-chic ensemble by Juergen Teller — fittingly, given his predilection for superannuated subjects. In the same spring campaign, he also shot model Freya Lawrence and French dancer Marie-Agnes Gillot. Didion devotees will surely make the connection between the now-famous image of the author in her Corvette Stingray on the cover of her book The White Album and the car that Daria Werbowy, trusted multi-seasonal Céline muse, posed in for the recent cruise campaign.


Joan Didion’s The White Album (1979), Daria Werbowy for Céline cruise 2015

That Joan Didion, especially at 79, couldn’t give two hoots about fashion or glamour is exactly what makes the campaign so unexpected — and compelling. In a fashion advertising landscape littered with out-of-place Hollywood actresses and shill-anything reality-TV stars, Didion remains the very embodiment of depth, authenticity, and inspiration. Never mind that the giant wayfarers appear to be sliding off her face; it just adds to the charm.

Watch this video refresher created by Didion’s nephew, Griffin Dunne, to help fund a Kickstarter campaign with the aim of finally making her definitive documentary. The goal of $80,000 was shattered in less than a day…

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