Iconic Fashion Moments of French Cinema

The French film industry flourished in the 1960s to 70s and did not only cement its place in the history of cinema but also changed the course of fashion. Film directors were inspired by the nation’s fashion savvy capital, Paris, resulting in films with killer style.
Jean-Luc Goddard’s Breathless was not only one of the most influential films of the French New Wave movement, it also launched French fashion to international heights. The film’s female lead, Jean Seberg, was the epitome of Parisian cool with her simple, yet full of personality wardrobe. Her go-to stripes were paired with perfectly tailored pants and full skirts – setting the trend for feminine style without a hint of fancifulness.

Another Jean-Luc Goddard film Une Femme Est Une Femme featured his long-term muse, Anna Karina, as the film’s independent and strong willed lead. The film marked the director’s first foray into colour, which was reflected in the fashion choices that favoured bold, primary colours. The colour red was worn by Karina’s character throughout the film as a symbol of her theatrical personality and spiritedness.

Brigitte Bardot and Jeanne Moreau stole the show in Louis Malle’s Viva Maria!, a whimsical comedy-adventure film about two 20th century revolutionaries. The film’s costumes were a glamourous take on showgirl looks, complete with fur trimmings and outrageous headpieces. One of the film’s most memorable looks comprised of Victoriana blouses paired with maxi skirts for a French-inspired western look.

Film and fashion were in perfect harmony in Luis Buñuel’s drama Belle Du Jour. Enlisting none other than French fashion icon Yves Saint Laurent to design the film’s costumes, the pieces worn by the film’s lead Catherine Deneuve defined the 60s style scene. Deneuve’s beautiful outfits were cut above with immecable tailoring in ultra-sophisticated ensembles. One of Deneuve’s most iconic outfits was her black dress with contrast collar and cuffs in the film’s last scene.

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