Long before I first watched Belle de Jour, or was aware of any famous actresses, I thought she was the epitome of femininity and glamour.
Young, blonde, and addicted to work, she was unlike most "grandmothers" I knew. At home, I loved to run my fingers over the bottles of perfume on her dresser, and admire the numerous pairs of shoes that lined her closet floor. At work, I watched in fascination while she cut negatives on an enormous light table, red nails flashing as she made quick slices with a graphics blade. Every once in a while she would kick off her high heels, lean back to light a cigarette, and exhale a little plume of smoke. That was my signal to bring some coffee, and she would allow me to "help" with whatever needed cutting.
My grandmother, Valerie Meimi Arkell, passed away last night after a courageous battle with cancer. Even into her 60s, the Hel-Looks team would have appreciated the inherent style of this Finnish femme.
avec mutti, 1961
Kyssa, isoäiti. You will be missed.