Joan Didion, an ever-more popular lifestyle brand, was on Vogue.com this week to celebrate her new collaboration with the French fashion house Céline.

As the Times wrote:

When Vogue, a former employer of the esteemed writer Joan Didion, announced on Tuesday that she was starring in Céline's latest ad campaign, with a photograph featuring her in black shirt, oversize gold pendant and dark sunglasses, the fashion Internet quivered in a way it hasn't at least since Kim Kardashian stripped nude for Paper magazine two months ago.

(Hm. I'm actually not quite sure which woman is better for a contemporary brand, Kim or Joan. Kim does understand the current social landscape better than anyone, and she has Kanye. But Joan has the automobile and cigarette market. Does Joan vape? Would she vape? Joan Didion would be great for vaping's image.)

The Vogue advertorial announcing Joan's "collaboration" with Céline was no less tongue-waggy than the Times'. (Contemporary writing about Joan Didion is always bad.)

Let's talk about Céline for a minute. Let's reflect on Phoebe Philo's artfully honed aesthetic. You know the one, synonymous with an ideal that's at once sensual, austere, controlled, and achingly, achingly cool...

And now let's talk about Céline's just-debuted ad campaign featuring French dancer Marie-Agnes Gillot, model Freya Lawrence, and none other than immortal intellectual-and-otherwise dream girl Joan Didion. Well, did you just feel the collective intake of breath shared by every cool girl you know? Did you feel the pulse-quickening vibrations of every recent college grad and literature fan? Did you sense the earth trembling beneath your feet? Do you have two eyes and a heart?

"Intellectual-and-otherwise dream girl Joan Didion." God, poor Joan! An 80-year-old girl. The coolest of the cool girls. Austere, like a cigarette, but with hair (silver hair). Thinner than a cigarette. Only smokes French cigarettes (the thin ones). Always wearing sunglasses to protect herself from the world. French sunglasses. Céline sunglasses, make you look like you just had cataract surgery, very cool. Price upon request.


This is the first column in a new series called Joan Didion Watch.