Lauren Bacall is alive and swell: Get her style
Lauren Bacall, ever a favorite of mine, has always exuded a unique, gritty grace. She's that woman who can hold her highballs and wink like a sailor without sacrificing a nip of femininity. Earlier this week, I attended Elle magazine's Women in Hollywood tribute night (see picture, right) and Bacall -- being honored as an icon alongside the likes of Diane Lane and Scarlett Johansson -- spoke with such honesty and wit. "I'm very glad to be here because it proves that I'm breathing," said the 83-year-old actress. "A lot of people think I'm dead."
Hardly. The actress is not only starring in the upcoming Paul Schrader movie "The Walker," but she's also launching her own jewelry line later this year. A glance back at her signature style proves that Bacall stuck with a look that worked. She rarely deviated from her coif: a sultry ribbon of caramel waves that framed her strong features. I love her red pants and green sweater combo, which can be modernized with these red skinny Capital E jeans from Levi's ($172) and a cowl neck turtleneck -- I would opt for a black sweater over green to avoid looking like a Christmas ornament.
This Roberto Cavalli multi-colored pailette dress at Netaporter.com ($4,065) mimics the fit of the gown Bacall wore in a publicity shot -- there is even side ruching, which is so retro and sexy. Bacall was never one for baring cleavage. In her siren days, she opted for tailored suits and crisp white shirts with vivid scarves. Again, she dressed like a woman who could seduce a man during a game of pool or skip over a puddle without breaking an ankle.
The hair? I can't say enough about Lauren Bacall's distinctive locks. That sensuous ripcurl is all the rage right now in Gucci ads. Some designers are showing a longer Veronica Lake style -- which is gorgeous too -- but Bacall's sophisticated shoulder-grazing bob was a little less look-at-me, but plenty coy. The best way to steal her hairstyle is with a set of jumbo hot rollers from Conair. Be sure to curl the sections of hair under, rather than over, the roller or you will get a flip.
Lastly, Bacall wears little makeup, save for a cherry pout. (At the Elle event, she played up her eyes rather than her lips -- which is more age appropriate.) I like Red Premiere lipstick at Sephora from Dior ($26), which is ultra-creamy and works wonders as the focal point of the face. It goes without saying -- I hope -- that you can't just cop the legend's look. If you're going to play Bacall and call attention to your lips, be smart and witty. My favorite Bacall zinger: "Generally women are better than men. They have more character. I prefer men for some things, obviously, but women have a greater sense of honor and are more willing to take a chance with their lives."