Glass interviews Lou Doillon

To be or to be … Lou Doillon talks to Glass about the life-affirming power of music, art and dressing for yourself

ACTOR, model, artist and musician, Lou Doillon is a true chameleon of the arts. From being the face of Givenchy to acting under Gia Coppola and releasing two critically acclaimed albums, the daughter of celebrated French director Jacques Doillon and iconic British actress Jane Birkin is building her own multi-hyphenate empire (building her own traditions). While her achievements and impeccable cool-girl style seem intimidating, she is remarkably warm, witty and down to earth – someone you can imagine being as comfortable holding court in a local pub as she is in the Ritz- Carlton.

Nowhere is this exhibited more clearly than on her Instagram, where she shares quirky illustrations, recent reads (Françoise Sagan, Sylvia Plath) and photos of her adorable (and perpetually unimpressed) bulldog Gustave with her fans. She now starts 2019 with the release of her third studio album Soliloquy. Working with four different producers, including Cat Power, and Dan Levy of French pop duo The dø, the album showcases her trademark lyricism and haunting vocals across twelve stunning and introspective tracks. Glass speaks to Doillon to find out more about her creative process and sources of inspiration. 

Lou Doillon. Photographer: Bojana Tatarska

Could you let Glass know what is your main inspiration behind your newly released album Soliloquy?

The main inspiration is what I see, recurrences in everyday life, patterns … And then finding a way to loop the same shapes, patterns in words and music.

It’s a marvellous expression, writing music and lyrics is a strange nothingness … Only vibrations, sounds and meanings … Quite abstract actually. For me, making an album is following a thread, you don’t quite know where it’s leading you, but you need to pursue it. 

You are such a polymath – a singer-songwriter, an actress, an artist – where do you find the inspiration for all your creative endeavours? And if you had to choose, what would be your primary love?

I like to “see”. I guess that’s where it all comes from. Being a witness of patterns, shapes, relations, combinations… And depending on what I see, the expression can vary. Sometimes a drawing will say it better, sometimes a song, sometimes other people’s words or imagination are so perfect that one just wants to be their voice, say their words. It comes from the same place, it’s very much like inhaling and breathing out. Impossible to choose.

Your music videos always have such a distinctive aesthetic – do you get your ideas for the video during the songwriting process?

Sometimes images come while I am writing, but they are often too ambitious or complicated. Making videos is very hard, because you have to delegate a lot, and the process is quick as opposed to having lived and worked on the songs often for months, if not years. I’m starting to know how to feel a team now, go very low budget to be able to have the fun without the pressure, and surround myself by talented people who have a vision for it to be a collaboration.

I could make every video on my iPhone or super 8, but you do have to reinvent an image, and not be stuck in nostalgia. For this album I’m doing a video per song, it’s fun! I loved doing a gigantic five minutes no-preparation drawing for It’s You with my sister Lola Doillon, making Burn in California on my iPhone and Leica with my friend Marine Braunschvig, and my son; Doing Widows in Joshua Tree with a young American artist named Maximilla Lukacs, Too Much in a Paris café with a marvellous English Berlin-based director called Matt Lambert, and I’m filming pretty much all the time to integrate it in the album. 

Lou Doillon. Photographer: Bojana Tatarska


You are a tastemaker in fashion, film and music – but do you have any secret or guilty pleasures?

I guess I need to find a story behind everything. The world has multiple layers of meanings, – the way you dress, talk, roll a cigarette, read, take notes, the rhythm in your step, the way your carry your shoulders, the table you choose to sit at … It all means something of you. You don’t need to control it. You just need to know it. I don’t care what people think of me, but I do care about what I think of myself. I want to please me, and dance through this strange thing called life, at my pace, in my shoes. We only live once, and it’s just a ride. 

You are revered as a style icon. Could you share with Glass who or what is your ultimate style influence?

I believe that clothes, make up, jewellery are to be seen as talismans, amulets, charms. I wear boots that resemble Van Gogh’s boots in a painting he made that I love, I wear green stockings to feel like an Egon Schiele model, I let my hair dry and never brush them with a brush, because I like it when it starts resembling branches and rivers. Lately I am wearing huge earrings, because I want to be like a bourgeois person in a Chabrol movie that comes home and unclips them to call the day off. I could go on and on, but I wear my stories in a way. As I’m writing, it’s a puffa jacket which makes me think of my sisters in the 1980s who all had one. A watch worn in the inside, like my father wears his, a pair of cropped jeans like my mother, a pair of ‘80s homage Gucci sneakers that make me believe a DeLorean car is going to pick me up like in Back to the Future. 

Lou Doillon. Photographer: Bojana Tatarska


As having both French and British heritage, do you feel a strong attachment to both countries and cultures? And if so, how does this manifest itself?

Like everyone who shares two or more cultures, I feel multiple and yet never really belonging somewhere. It’s a great advantage, because you have to think outside of your culture, and wonder what is your culture, and what is heritage? I am often French for the English, and English for the French, and I am both and none at the same time. It took me some time to realise that it’s a great point of view to observe. I love English food, which makes the French cringe; I would rather have wine than beer, which appears snobbish to mates in a pub. I love both cultures, especially writers and poets in both countries. I wish I could speak more languages, and be able to read in German, Italian, Russian and Japanese.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

“Do whatever you want, as long as you can sleep with it.” Meaning, there is ultimately no judge apart from yourself. And that’s the only person you’ll have to live with till the last second.

Lou Doillon. Photographer: Bojana Tatarska


What do you feel is your greatest achievement?

I would say my son, but he is much greater than my “own” achievement. He is the mingling of two parents, families and, more than anything, his own being.

So maybe being in charge of my life, for better or worse, for as long as I can remember is an achievement I guess.

What has been your most challenging project to date?

Life is a very challenging project.

What does purpose mean to you?

Everything has a purpose, and as much a great as an intimate one. Life is easier, I find, when every move you take is done with a purpose. Not a grand one, not a heroic one, but something. The purpose of being in sync with people you walk by in the street, the purpose of love, of freedom. It’s a marvellous way of moving, of keeping things alive; and it may seem paradoxical, but the more there is purpose to you, the less you need to control things.

by Lucy Wai

Look 1:

All clothing GUCCI

long medal necklace:  LOU’S OWN

B.zero1 hoop earrings in 18K rose gold, BVLGARI BVLGARI necklace


Look 2:


trousers: ACNE STUDIOS

long medal necklace LOU’S OWN



Look 3:


long medal necklace LOU’S OWN

high Jewellery Serpenti earrings,,BVLGARI BVLGARI necklaces


Post production: AWACS