For most of her 20s, Parisian beauty Lou Doillon thought she was washed up. Acting and modeling assignments were few and far between, and no one seemed to care about the drawings, poetry and songs she had begun to compose to keep herself amused in the down time. But the daughter of actress-vocalist Jane Birkin and film director Jacques Doillon wouldn’t be silenced for long. Now at 31, she has returned to movies in “Polisse” and “Naked in London,” reissued for the U.S. her 2012 overseas-hit debut disc “Places” and become the face of Givenchy and a fall fashion campaign for Barney’s, with its life-size wooden puppet in a Lou Doillon-themed New York window display.
You’re splashed across every fashion magazine right now, sometimes with your guitar, in this Barney’s blitz. How did this happen? I have no idea! Because I’m too old to be a model now, really. I’ve been around for a long, long time, and strangely enough, now is when everything’s kind of moving for me. So I’m delighted. But I can’t explain it.
But you truly possess this otherworldly beauty that leaps from the page. Well, it’s a good mixture of strange, beautiful genes, from my mother and even my great-grandparents. I’ve been lucky to always have strong faces in my family — my mother is an absolute beauty, and my sisters, too. And sharp — we all have a strange edge in our faces. I can be extremely frightening or very sweet — it just depends on the angle.
You could get really scary on Halloween. I tried that once, but no one got the joke. I was dressed up as Dorothy Parker, with loads of suicidal possibilities. And apparently nobody liked good old Dorothy Parker like I did.
It was your mom who insisted you record these initially private songs. What else did she teach you? From my mother, who is fearless, I gained a strange belief that everything’s always going to be all right. She gave me this great energy for life, and a very strong English sense of humor. The French sense of humor is to bash someone else, but English humor is to bash yourself, which I like better.
And from your dad? I remember when I was a little girl, a teacher told me that curiosity was a bad thing, because it killed the cat. And my father drove me back to school and confronted that teacher, saying, “You’ve given my daughter the stupidest advice!” I remember that vividly. My father wanted me to be curious about everything. So it was like having the sun as my mom and the moon as my dad.
IF YOU GO
Where: Great American Music Hall, 859 O’Farrell St., S.F.
When: 8 p.m. Sunday