It wasn’t Edie, Marilyn, Chloë, or Brigitte who coined the term. No, unlikely enough, it was Rudyard Kipling, Edwardian novelist and imperialist prude, who first wrote about the “It Girl”, as a signifier of ineffable feminine chic, in 1904: “Tisn’t beauty, so to speak, nor good talk necessarily. It’s just It. Some women’ll stay in a man’s memory once they walk down the street.”Klara Kristin, the Copenhagen-born singer/actor/model, has it. This is something that Nicholas Ghesquiere, Hedi Slimane, Harley Weir, and Gaspar Noé all know. From opening for Isabel Marant, to starring in a Red Hot Chili Peppers music video, and recording her debut LP, Lullaby & Drum Machine, she is hip, cool, now. Speaking to Semaine, Klara herself can’t put her finger on how things came to be this way: “It is hard to tell why I do it, because I have been like this since I remember. I just can’t stop myself.”
In an age where we dignify many movements by way of a Danish aesthetic, Klara Kristin’s shape-shifting and soft-spoken talents have made her the poster girl for a distinct brand of Scandi chic. But Paris is her adopted home: “My life changed dramatically when I discovered Paris the city. Coming from a small city like Copenhagen, Paris fascinated me, it made me start dreaming. Later on, I had some crazy coincidences that were so unreal and made me discover how wild this world is when I step out of my comfort zone.” Comfort zones are, of course, subjective spots: Klara’s one, which involves the unsimulated sex scenes of Gaspar Noé’s love, the film’s poster with three, salivating tongues interlocked, is presumably beyond most. Finding succour instead amid her commute, Klara stops to write her songs on the 380 to New York: “I love writing on the train or go on a car-ride and just think while landscapes pass by. Also, it is essential for me to go on a walk every day to have a moment of wonder.”
I am fond of an Hermès campaign from a few seasons ago, whose slogan was ‘beauty is a gesture’. Usually, the word salad of perfume slogans and beauty ads conjures up a perfect vapour of nothingness. But this felt like something. It came to mind when I was looking at Klara Kristin’s modelling portfolio, listening to her album, watching her music videos, and watching her film, Love, in research for this profile. Sometimes she has a roguish grin, others an impish smile.
Photography by Juliette Abitbol and Edouard Sanville.
The gestures that make someone beautiful, the little things, the touches that, in a post-COVID-19 world, are especially meaningful. Someone like Klara is attuned to them, tapped into the importance of a nod or a gesture in a way that few people are. Perhaps this, above everything, is it.
This connection to an object is, for Klara, the definition of taste: “To care about and take care of an object/space, because then love and time will shine from it and give it an authentic depth.” Klara, in a shot from ‘Ce n’est que de l’eau’, her 2020 music video, nudges her face just above the shimmering water of a pool. Underwater, her hair is silky, luscious. She looks like an old photograph, or that she might have strayed from a Philippe Lorca diCorcia shot. You can feel the smoothness of her forehead, unbunched, the thread of stress unknitted from brow to shoulders. Golden and blue, the light blooms in a little shroud around her head, like a halo. It’s a fitting debut for a star. I tried it out the other day, raising my face to the sun. For a moment I wanted to feel what Klara Kristin must. But that is the point. Only a few, once a while, can know what it must feel like.
By Jonathan Mahon-Heap for Semaine.
"L-O-V-E with Klara"
This week on Semaine, we celebrate Klara's oh-so-soothing vocal talents (it's no surprise her latest album was named Lullaby & Drum Machine) as she serenades us through the city of light and love.
Come laugh, dream, learn and wonder with Klara.
OLLE HELLBOM, 1970
“First, that I can learn Swedish. Second, the colorful-vintage-Scandinavian style and that its very cute and fun.”
“I love personal development. Especially with the cognetive method.”
Pierrot Le Fou
JEAN LUC GODARD, 1965
“I enjoy the simplicity in the set design and the frames that stays fixed for a long time. It slows down the pace, which is a good contrast to my work and life in a big city.”
MADS BRÜGGER, 2011
“I learn about politics but in a really fun, raw, out, and truthful way.”
WERNER HERZOG, 2005
“We learn about humans on this planet that live outside “normal” society and it gives perspective to my everyday.”
"Klara's Key Items"
When one does as many things at the same time as Klara, one can expect to need a lot of different things. Browse through Klara's key items from singing and producing music, getting dressed on a rainy day in Paris, to making the perfect cup coffee or buying a box of macarons for your lover.
Venus Mon Amour Macarons
Skye Blue Roller-skates
Marilyn Cashmere Sweater
Lullaby & Drum-machine Vinyl
Hot Dog Wagon
Gingham Check Rain Hood
Estelle Jacket & Sophia Skirt
Groove XL Karaoke Machine
Pulcina Espresso Maker
“ Get lost in the small mazes which swings down from Perspective de la Côte des Basques to Boulevard du Prince de Galles. Find a good bench-spot between the bushes and eventually bring shellfish tapas and wine from “La Cabane à Huîtres”. If you go in the evening there’s an incredible sunset.”
“ It’s great to visit Meknès instead of other cities like Fez and Marrakesh, because it’s not very visited by tourists which surprised me because it’s a quite big city with a long history. Meknès will give you a much more authentic experience (and cheaper!).”
South Funen Archipelago
“Bring your bike or go by sailboat. Also very important: Eat strawberries with danish cream.”
Rudolph Tegners Museum & Statuepark
“ Walk even longer than the statuepark, because there’s some amazing really old trees and also it is possible in the autumn to pick mushrooms.”
“ Mountain hiking in Norway early summer. Choose routes in Hardanger from Kinsavik near Eidsfjord or Skarheimen north from the city Voss. I absolutely love this active holiday, mostly because I can drink the water directly from the small rivers that is everywhere up there.”
The Mole People
by Jennifer Toth
“It is so unreal to me that this is based on real stories. It reminds me of how many worlds there is outside my little bobble.”