During the World War II, she was a volunteer nurse, first in a French Foreign Legion unit, the 11th infantry regiment abroad. She was wounded at Verdun during the rescue of a legionnaire.
After recovering she joined the French resistance as a nurse in Provence, folloowing which she was attached to the 5th Armored Division where she also worked as a nurseand as a divisional social assistant.
For her efforts during the war, she was decorated with the Croix de Guerre and made Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur in 1945.
However, it will be as a journalist and writer that she will be best remembered.
In 1946, she joined the staff of a new women’s magazine that was just being set up - the French weekly Elle, where she spent two years.
From 1948, she worked for the French edition of Vogue, becoming the magazine’s editor-in-chief in 1954.
She left Vogue Paris in 1966, as the result of a conflict for wanting to place a black woman on the cover of the magazine.
Three months later, in 1966, she wrote Oublier Palerme and was awarded the Prix Goncourt for it.
In 1973 she married the French Socialist politician Gaston Deferre, who among other things is famous for being one of the combatants in last duel ever fought in France in 1967.
Over the course of her career, she published 10 novels as well as a biography of Coco Chanel in 1975.
In April 2010, the then President Nicolas Sarkozy, awarded her with the rank of Commander of the Legion of Honneur.