Getting older seem very appealing…great article!
At age 64, Charlotte Rampling remains an icon of sex and decadence. Once described as being able to have any man she wanted, she maintains a powerfully carnal presence in films ranging from Never Let Me Go to StreetDance 3D. Born into a military family in Essex, England, the bilingual Rampling has long divided her time between London and Paris, where she is referred to as “La Légende.” The last ten years have marked some of her most powerful and psychologically penetrating work, particularly in collaboration with the director François Ozon, but she’ll likely be remembered as the embodiment of a certain kind of twisted glamour, like the concentration camp victim entertaining Nazi officers bare-breasted in braces and a cap in the pervy 1974 film The Night Porter.
Speaking over the phone from her home in Paris, it’s clear that she doesn’t suffer fools gladly—she keeps the conversation rattling along at a fair old pace, offering her thoughts on everything from aging gracefully to the state of style publications today. “Fashion in magazines has to be sublime for me, it can’t be ordinary,” she decrees in a cut-glass English accent. One of cinema’s great beauties, Rampling knows how to wear her clothes. “I’ll throw a few things on, but they’ll be good things—couture, Yohji Yamamoto, Jil Sander, usually quite masculine things. I don’t have to bother about it, I just put them on and think that’s who I am, as far as I know who I am,” she laughs.
Rampling seems at ease with her age. Her face is proudly untouched by the surgeon’s knife—she once said that the idea of waking up with a younger face was monstrous—and she speaks warmly about her grandchildren, though an inquiry about whether she spoils them gets a sharp retort: “I wasn’t spoiled, so I wouldn’t know how to spoil them.” She enjoys the freedom that comes from her two sons and stepdaughter having flown the nest, saying that when one grows older “a sort of solitude installs itself that is really quite powerful if you’re not afraid of it.”
While the French are currently up in arms about the retirement age being raised from 60 to 62, Rampling has no desire to stop working. The roles she gets these days, she says, are “shorter but incredibly rich,” like her single scene in Todd Solondz’s Life During Wartime.
So how does she remain quite so, well, sexy? Rampling attributes it to three things: her lust for life, the effort she’s made to evolve, and, above all, the preservation of her mystique. “If you’re not ready [for old age], suddenly you think, Oh my God, I’m not attractive anymore,” she muses. “Well, of course you don’t attract people in the way you did, but there are other ways. Attraction is making somebody aware of who you are, and it’s the mystery which is attractive.”
Rampling also doesn’t look back, never deigning to watch her old films. “It’s too charged,” she says. “It’s something I’ve lived, so therefore it’s within me.” But she allows herself one moment of reflection on what’s been a life packed with high drama. “I’m just proud that I’ve come through it all,” she says, laughing again. “I’m proud of that girl.”
Above: Charlotte, 64, wears
Wool gabardine trench coat with bat sleeves, angora felt turban, leather gloves Gaultier Paris
On eyes and lips, Chanel Inimitable Intense Mascara in noir and Precision Eye Definer in gris scintillant and Rouge Allure Lipstick in lover
Makeup Peter Philips for Chanel
Hair Yannick d’Is using
Frédéric Fekkai (Management Artists)
Manicure Elsa Durrens (Artlist Paris)
Photo assistants Romain Dubus and Antoni Ciufo
Stylist assistant Donatella Musco
Makeup assistant Valerie Joudelat
Special thanks Henri Coutant (DTouch), Stephanie Jaillet, Lea Collaud (Janvier Paris)
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