This French Chanteuse Wrote Her Signature Song “La Vie en Rose"

Who: Édith Piaf, legendary French singer and songwriter; regarded as France's national chanteuse; December 19, 1915–October 10, 1963

Why She Dazzles: Édith, born Édith Giovanna Gassion, was a petite songstress who stood tall at four feet eight inches and sang powerful ballads about love, loss, and sorrow. “La Vie en Rose” is one of those songs that you instantly recognize, even though you may not understand the words. Or, if you watch commercials or saw Inception, you hear “Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien” on the regular. Her passionate songs combined with her raw voice make her the gold standard, or statue in some cases, for singers.

Why You Need to Know Her Today: Her songs ring relevant in every decade because her music conveys tragedy and heartache through her expressive voice. Iconic superstars like Bing Crosby and Louis Armstrong recorded versions of her song,“La Vie en Rose”, and even Lady Gaga debuted her own version wearing Edith’s trademark eyebrows in A Star Is Born. 

What She Would Say—Because She Said It Then: “Use your faults, use your defects; then you're going to be a star.”

What the Ladies Rocked Then: Most French ladies wanted to wear French couture. Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel obviously was one of the top couture designers of her time, especially when her first fine jewelry collection launched in the 1930s. Chanel’s bold and flashy jewelry mixed beautifully against her minimalist designs. Édith often wore a signature little black dress, which Chanel invented, during her performances.

How You Can Rock It Now: French jeweler Robert Goossens started working for Chanel in 1954 and used semiprecious stones mixed with artificial gems for his creations. He also worked with other French designers like Yves Saint Laurent. He traveled the world with jewels like rubies, coral, and rock crystal (aka quartz), which was his favorite to use in his work (see his famous rock crystal sautoirs and Byzantine cuffs).

Where She Would Instagram: Paris. Born into poverty in 1915, Édith sang on the streets of Paris until 1935, when she was discovered by the owner of a cabaret off the Champs-Élysées. The owner, Louis Leplée, gave her the nickname la môme piaf, or “the little sparrow,” which became her stage name, Édith Piaf. She performed most frequently at the famous L’Olympia concert hall (which was co-founded by the co-creators of the Moulin Rouge) and other large music venues around the city.

Shop the Sparkle: Paris Rose

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Édith Piaf: Beautiful. Bold. Brilliant.