Famke Janssen: Big Things Come In Small Packages

LITTLE GIRL NOT LOST: The name Famke is unusual not only in America, but also in Holland, where the actress grew up. The meaning is anything but odd, however--in the Friesland dialect, Famke translates to "little girl," which is exactly what Janssen's playing on our pages. Lace jacket and velvet skirt by Tom Ford for Yves St. Laurent Rive Gauche, leather slingbacks by Jimmy Choo and bracelet by Daniel Swarovski.


OUT OF THE WOODS: Janssen has come a along way since landing her big break as over-the-top Xenia Onatopp--a villainess who kills with her thighs--in 1995's GoldenEye. This fall she played Michael Douglas's wife in the thriller Don't Say a Word, and next year she's set to star in two very high-profile movie--X-Men 2 and Eddie Murphy's I Spy. Wool cape by Louis Vuitton, stockings by Wolford and leather slingbacks by Jimmy Choo.

CLOSE ENCOUNTER: When Bruce Willis was looking for a costar for the 1991 caper Hudson Hawk, he noticed Janssen in a TV commercial and gave her a ring. She didn't get the part, but that turned out to be a stroke of luck for her, because Hawk was a turkey at the box office. Instead, she played a love interest for Captain Picard on "Star Trek: The Next Generation," which won her great buzz. Leather dress by Iceberg.

MODEL PAST: After studying economics at a Dutch university, Janssen took up modeling and became one of the most recognized faces of the '80s. But she soon grew bored with the profession and moved to New York City to fill her head--she studied acting with famed coach Harold Guskin and enrolled as an undergrad at Columbia University. Dress by Prada, boots by Sergio Rossi and vintage cross necklace by Neil Lane.

LOTS OF TONGUE: Janssen can do great things with her tongue. Her native language is Dutch and she's a master of accents--she used a Russian one for GoldenEye and Rounders, a Boston one for Monument Avenue and a plain-old American one for X-Men. Velvet dress by Alberta Ferretti and diamond necklace and tsavorite ring by Roberto Coin.

Behind the Scenes

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1. Italian jeweler Roberto Coin took a circuitous route to designing his namesake pieces, like the Capriccio necklace and Fantasia ring seen on the opposite page, and here with earrings. He started out in the family hotel business, several of which he successfully ran in the Channel Islands. Coin switched careers in 1977. His company, based in Vicenza, Italy, came to the U.S. around five years ago, and already the jeweler is the darling of some of Hollywood's biggest trendsetters. Cases in point: Sarah Jessica Parker requested Roberto Coin jewelry when she appeared on the cover of Harper's Bazaar and Sarah Michelle Gellar will appear in next summer's Scooby-Doo wearing a custom-made diamond "D" pendant, which stands for her character's name, Daphne.

2. Log on to her website, and it's obvious why photographer Jill Greenberg calls herself The Manipulator (www.manipulator.com). Armed with a Mac and her camera, Greenberg has been creating vibrant, surreal images of actors, models and musicians for over 10 years. One look at the "before" picture of Famke Janssen from our photo shoot (in which both Janssen's and Greenberg's dogs are playing) reveals just how far Greenberg's images come in the creative process. Originally an illustrator, she switched majors at the Rhode Island School of Design and graduated with a BFA in photography in 1989. A year later, an image-editing software called Adobe Photoshop was created, and the rest, as they say, was history. "Before Photoshop, I actually used to paint the pictures myself," Greenberg says. "For me, it's never been about just taking a straight photo."

3. Like Roberto Coin, Miuccia Prada initially avoided her fashion calling. Although her family has been in the apparel trade since 1913, when her grandfather founded a leather-goods business, Prada didn't join the organization until 1970, after earning a Ph.D. in political science. Since then, her keen business savvy and clean, modern sense of style have built the company into a nearly billion-dollar operation. Her clothes are a favorite of Winona Ryder, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Uma Thurman, who took the world's breath away when she sauntered down the red carpet at the '95 Oscars in that unforgettable lavender chiffon Prada gown. The understated fall collection (which includes the dress seen here and on p. 81) was deemed a "perfectly fashionable anti-fashion wardrobe" by the fashion press, and Miuccia Prada wouldn't have things any other way.

4. Hairstylist Laurent Dufourg--more widely known as Laurent D.--tends some of the most glamorous heads in Hollywood, including those of Gwyneth Paltrow, Uma Thurman, Salma Hayek, Téa Leoni and our model, Famke Janssen. He also has his own line of haircare products and owns two Privé salons--one in New York's So Ho Grand hotel and one in Los Angeles, which he relocated from Melrose Place to the site of the legendary Spanish Kitchen on Beverly Boulevard in Los Angeles, where Buster Keaton and Mary Pickford used to dine. Originally owned by John and Pearl Caretto, the structure was mysteriously abandoned in 1961 when Pearl hung a "Closed for Vacation" sign and, although the tables remained set as if awaiting diners, never reopened. Despite various grisly urban myths about the building's shuttering, the truth was touchingly simple. The Carettos were an uncommonly devoted couple, and when John became debilitated with Alzheimer's disease, Pearl retired to care for him. Over the years, the building became a highly coveted property, but it didn't change hands until after Pearl's death. Furthermore, the long-abandoned structure was reportedly haunted by the Carettos' ghosts (even Dufourg, who has a 10-year lease, believes he sensed their presence during a site visit). Just to be safe, as part of his $1.5 million renovation, the hair honcho (pictured here with his wife Fabienne) included some spiritual cleansing and feng shui.