n°101/ Bags to Blondes

January 2014

by Nathalie Azoulai

We all know that Hitchcock twisted the Hollywoodian platinum blonde by creating the ice-cold crazy blonde. At the end of the 60s, John Cassavetes twisted it even more by inventing the depressive blonde his wife and muse Gena Rowlands embodied that we can still track in contemporary movies : she's sexy and whimsical, she's elegant and staggers, she's smiling and suicidal, she's playful and drunk. Unlike her elder Hitchcockian sister, she hasn't been through a huge trauma like Tippi Hedren in Marnie but only drowns in a deep neurotic condition and hardly behaves herself. She definitely stops the good girl thing, both liberating herself and dangerously self-exposing. You can tell it all by the bags: while the Hitchcockian heroin sticks to her purse with all her secrets inside, the Cassavetian acts all the same except that there's no more secrets inside: everything is exposed, shown on her face, her gestures, absolutely visible. Remember French actress Catherine Deneuve in François Dupeyron's 1988 movie entitled A Strange Place to Meet. More recently, Cate Blanchett in Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine: sticking to her Hermès Kelly as the only remain of her wealthy and lost life, she stumbles all along and ends up on a bench just as any other blonde bum. Make it a tip: anytime you spot a blond lead character now, just look at her bag and ask yourself where you would put her away…


 Tippi Hedren


 Gena Rowlands


 Cate Blanchett