The One, The Only, Catherine Deneuve
By Deirdre Carroll: Senior Editor
NEW YORK—Hot off her acceptance of the Chaplin Lifetime Achievement Award from the Lincoln Center Film Society where she rubbed elbows with the likes of Susan Sarandon, Glenn Close and Martin Scorsese the previous night, Vision Monday got the opportunity to sit down with legendary French actress Catherine Deneuve to discuss her work and partnership with Viva International.
Among white orchids, champagne and macarons, the timeless beauty shared, “I was already wearing glasses when I began my partnership with Viva, so it made sense to get involved with a product because I had to use it myself. I think the woman who wears my collection is much like me in a way, classical. So we go through time easier, classic but evolving in a subtle way.”
That evolution was necessary given the longevity of the line. Originally signed in 1992, Catherine Deneuve Lunettes is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, but like the actress, the brand is by no means resting on its laurels. In January, Viva launched the brand’s first sun collection.
“The Catherine Deneuve customer is elegant and seeks classic styling with a sophisticated flair,” said Liz Tontodonati, general manager for Viva. “For us, the sun collection is a way of growing the brand. When we see that Catherine Deneuve fills a certain niche for us at Viva we say ‘How do we grow this even further?’ and ‘What are the needs of this particular consumer, for this product line?’ And the next best thing was sunglasses.”
|Viva’s Frank Rescigna with Catherine Deneuve.|
“The years have been up and down because I think that follows the current of what happens in life but when you stay 20 years with a company I think it speaks for itself,” added Deneuve. “I trust them, they are American and they are here. They know much more than I do when it comes to the market. They tell me what we need and I listen to them and it makes sense. If they want to launch something it’s not just for the pleasure of doing something different.”
So far, the launch has been the right move for the brand. “It’s been fantastic,” stated Tontodonati. “It’s a very tight collection and it’s taking off; which, of course, now leads to ‘Okay, what else does this consumer need?’ And we came up with some fabulous ideas for readers.”
The ongoing success of the brand ties in closely with Deneuve’s own theory on her enduring appeal in America. “Maybe it would have been different if I had lived here and worked here but now it’s more of a long love story that has lasted because I’m far away and we don’t see each other every day.”
And just like the eyewear collection shows no signs of slowing down, neither does Deneuve. “Retiring doesn’t really mean anything today, for anyone. I think that if you still feel in shape and you are very interested in what you are doing and what you are offered is interesting enough, I don’t see why I would retire. For the moment, it is still very interesting. I still feel challenged by the things I am offered and by the things I accept to do,” she said.
“I have the impression that there are still things that I haven’t done yet that I have to do. Each new encounter or project brings something new. It’s life and it’s a passion. You cannot have passion all the time but when you are very interested in something, if you really like it, there is always something new, something different that happens. I am very lucky,” Deneuve concluded.
We should all be so lucky.