Dalida. Singer. Icon. Fashionista. All Things French

Dalida, Singer, Actress & Fashion Icon. A Tragic Story

In the realms of music and style, few names shine as brightly as Dalida.

She was immensely admired in France, as well as in Europe and the rest of the world, for many years.

Born and raised in Cairo, Egypt, Yolanda Cristina Gigliotti, known by her stage name Dalida, left an indelible mark on the world of entertainment. This post delves into the multifaceted aspects of her life, with a focus on her extensive wardrobe, the duration of her popularity, her birthplace, and even a dedicated square in Paris named in her honour.

Dalida's Birthplace and Early Years.

Dalida's journey began in Cairo on January 17, 1933. Her rich cultural heritage, blending Italian and French influences, would later be reflected in her versatile music and fashion choices. Growing up in an artistic family, Dalida's passion for performance emerged early, paving the way for an extraordinary career.

Dalida moved to France in the early 1950s to pursue her career in music. She initially settled in Paris, which became her primary residence throughout her life. Over the years, Dalida lived in various locations in Paris, including the Montmartre neighborhood. It was in France tha Dalida experienced the most success in her career.

Worldwide, millions of people appreciated Dalida's French beauty, but also her inimitable style.

Dalida performed and recorded in more than ten languages, including Arabic, Italian, Greek, German, French, English, Japanese, Hebrew, Dutch and Spanish

She ranks among the 7 biggest singers of all time. In 1957, Dalida was the first artist to be awarded a gold record in France, and earned more than 70 in her career.  She was the first singer to receive platinum and diamond discs.

She was also the first female recording artist to have her own fan club. I know I would have been in it! Dalida developed an amazonian presence over the years. She was riveting!

Dalida faced various personal challenges throughout her life that contributed to her struggles with depression.

These challenges included failed relationships, personal losses, and the pressures of fame. Dalida's private life was blighted by a sequence of broken relationships and her own personal problems. Her first husband, Lucien Morisse, committed suicide a few years after their divorce. Two of her lovers, Luigi Tenco and Richard Chanfray, also took their own lives.

Her emotional pain is reflected in some of her songs, revealing a complex and sensitive side. She was deeply troubled, a fact that few people knew or understood until she took her own life.

One remarkable aspect of Dalida's career is its longevity. Her popularity spanned several decades, starting in the 1950s and continuing until her tragic death in 1987. This enduring appeal is a testament to her exceptional talent and ability to evolve with the ever-changing landscape of the music industry.

The Dalida Square in Paris:

Montmartre held a special place in Dalida's heart, and she often expressed her fondness for this area. To honour Dalida's lasting impact on French culture, a square in this neighborhood of Paris was named after her. The Place Dalida serves as a tribute to the singer, attracting fans and admirers from around the world. It's a place where her legacy is celebrated, and her spirit lives on.

The square is on the large corner of two picturesque Montmartre streets, Rue Girardon and Rue de l'Abreuvoir, measuring approximately 19m × 13m, and is bordered by houses. Three trees surround the bronze sculpture which sits atop 5 blocks of cut stone. The bust was sculpted by the French artist Aslan. On the highest stone on the statue, the stone underneath the bust, there is an engraved plague saying; 'Yolanda Gigliotti, dite DALIDA, chanteuse comédienne, 1933–1987" (English: 'Yolanda Gigliotti, known as DALIDA, singer actress, 1933–1987).

Dalida, her Wardrobe On and Off-Stage.

When I was in Paris in 2017, I had the considerable pleasure of seeing an exhibition of the extensive wardrobe of the renowned chanteuse, showing at the Palais Galliera.

When I was last in Paris (the ultimate destination for the total Francophile) I visted the Palais Galliera, the ultimate fashion museum for dessigner exhibitions. The Palais is a stunning example of 19th century architecture, and is devoted to the exhibition of fine fashion, clothing and textile design. It houses its own collections, workshops and ateliers, and shows a diverse range of wardrobes from an equally diverse range of eras, designers, performers, and celebrities. For the lovers of fashion, textiles and fine couture, this museum is a must-see. Her stunning wardrobe collection was recently donated to the museum by her brother, Orlando.

With a figure to die for–even as she matured–Dalida was beloved by the great fashion houses of her time.

As her fame grew, and as the exhibition progresses through the timeline, Dalida blurred the lines between stage wear and daywear. Her flamboyance resulted in impressive costumes and streetwear created by the most celebrated designers across three decades, added to and developed by her own sense of design, fashion, and theatre. She was born to be on stage.

Dalida had an absolute love of being sheathed in haute couture or prêt-à-porter.

Dalida was an Egyptian beauty, celebrated singer, and a lover of fashion.

Her garde-robe (wardrobe) was absolutely fascinating.

The detailing, styles, and colours of her wardrobe wass fabulously impressive. For the lovers of couture – either wearing, watching, or creating – the quality of craftsmanship, exquisite handiwork, and luxurious fabrics left me spellbound. The detail, theatre and flamboyance of the costumes was incredible. Everything was bespoke. I wanted to get inside of the garments, see how they were made, and soak up every detail. The dresses Dalida wore onstage were simply magical, ethereal, and breathtaking. And extensive. Quelle collection!

‘Dalida was archetypically Mediterranean – both sunny and tragic'.

According to the press release about the collection, Dalida was at once theatrical and gregarious, alternately sliding into melancholy or depression. You would imagine that she lived the life of someone touched only by extraordinary greatness, fantasy, and richness.

However, fuelled by a series of tragedies, and one already unsuccessful attempt on her own life, she ended her own life during the night of the 3rd of May 1987.

The world had lost a great Diva.

Her last note to the world read:

La vie m'est insupportable ... pardonnez-moi'. 

('Life has become unbearable for me...forgive me’).

If you're watching on a device, turn it around and get full screen, and amp up the sound.

If you've got the luxury that I have, stream it full-screen onto your TV, and turn up the sound. Oh, yeah! I become infused with the emotion of it. And if you want to sing along, check out the lyrics here.

I realised when I saw this rendition, which was in her later years, that probably no-one in the audience - at that time - understood, or 'saw' - the extent of her very real suffering.

It sounds much sexier in French. She was beautiful, sexy ... had it all? It took a bit of finding, without ads. Enjoy.

'Je suis malade' ... 'I am sick'. In genteel circles, perhaps, 'I am unwell'.

Recommended, especially if you want to practice on a subject you already like ... French and Fashion. Quelle combination! X

The team at the Palais Galliera did an incredible job of presenting this delicious 3-dimensional, audio-visual exhibition, which was sooo impressive.

Sadly, the exhibition is over.

The venue underwent transformative works which doubled the exhibition space and now enables them to display treasures which are normally hidden. Yay!

The Palais is situated at 10 Avenue Pierre Ier de Serbie, 75116, Paris. They do a remarkable array of fashion-focussed exhibitions and the standard is superbe, madame!

Full price admission and concessions are available, and the Palais Galliera is accessible to persons with disabilities. Check their website for more detailed information.

If you are looking for other things to do in Paris, particularly if the weather is less than ideal, visit my post about The Top 10 Things to do in Paris When It's Raining. Pleanty of ideas for you in there. Enjoy!

For more information:

Visit Dalida to learn more about her beautiful yet tragic life, amaze yourself with her discography, or to download any lyrics from her songs in different languages.





Interested in reading her story in French? 'Dalida' is available on Amazon.

Click HERE to check it out.

Mes amis, this post includes affiliate links. I may earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you) if you purchase something through one of my links. Bien sûr, I only recommend things that I absolutely *love.

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