Feb 18, 2012 12:00AM

Street Style Before Street Style: Françoise Hardy

We look back at the French singer's style in a pre-blogging era.

It's hard to imagine a time before Tommy Ton and The Sartorialist, but street style in itself is not a new invention. Even though its accessibility and immediacy has increased tenmillionfold because of that magical and mysterious thing called The Internet, street style originated back in the good ol' days well before the birth of bloggers and the '1977' filter on Instagram. Impossibly beautiful French singer Françoise Hardy was one such subject of pre-DSLR street style. We don't know if she mixed "chain store with vintage with designer" (a direct quote from every person on a street style blog ever), but we do know that her outfits would probably make Face Hunter froth at the mouth. At the forefront of the Yé-yé Parisian pop scene in the sixties, Hardy's record Tous les garçons et les filles sold over a million copies and she later collaborated with the likes of Blur (in 1994) and Iggy Pop (in 2000), with Bob Dylan dedicating her a poem, 'At The Seine's Edge'. Hardy has also become a fashion icon, inspiring Nicolas Ghesquière of Balenciaga and – see for yourself – probably a handful of other designers and fashion figures (a glo-mesh Paco Rabanne tracksuit? So Anna Dello Russo). Hardy is also humbled by the word 'icon', which provides interesting contrast to the shameless self-promotion oft associated with street style subjects today. In a BBC Radio interview last year, she reflects on being taken up by fashion houses: "It was work, things I had to do, a chore – I didn't enjoy it at all... It is quite impossible to stand — to be admired too much — it is not a normal situation... I don't like that at all... I am not comfortable with my professional life really, so the word 'icon' –  it's as though you were talking about someone else, it's not me really... I feel happy when I'm on my bed, in my room with a good book." While these photos of Hardy are interesting social documentations of a specific time, place and person, they also go a long way in showing that while many things have changed (please note the lack of any BlackBerrys or Starbucks cups), some things remain very much the same...

Street Style Before Street Style: Debbie Harry

Street Style Before Street Style: Jane Birkin