In the film that spawned a thousand pixie cuts, Jean Seberg and Jean-Paul Belmondo set the tone not just for the French New Wave as a genre, but for decades of French style. Belmondo sports an array of ill-fitting suits with a trilby or flat cap perched precariously on his head, hiding behind wire shades with an ubiquitous cigarette dangling from his lips. Meanwhile, American expat Seberg appears on screen for the first time in a New York Herald column T-shirt, cropped black trousers and delicate loafers, but elsewhere she dons quintessentially Parisian sailor stripes or borrows Belmondo hats and shirts with carefree, androgynous ease. The youthful, unstudied aesthetic leans into the romanticized version of today’s French fashion, launching a legacy of timeless and terrifyingly cool style.
beautiful day (1967)
In 1967, a young Yves Saint Laurent was commissioned to create the costumes for 23-year-old Catherine Deneuve in Luis Buñuel. beautiful day, a transgressive exploration of repressed feminine desire. When young housewife Séverine begins to live out her sexual fantasies by working afternoons at a local brothel, her wardrobe – which is made up entirely of YSL haute couture pieces – reflects her double life. She chooses suggestive black vinyl coats, brown fur-lined leather and bright red skirt suits to wear to the brothel, while pale yellow knitwear, tennis whites and demure collared dresses are saved for her life as than Severine. But while the film’s influence on women’s fashion is undeniable, the style of her bad boy love interest, Marcel, played by enfant terrible Pierre Clementi, not to be overlooked. Anthony Vaccarello’s menswear Fall ’22 collection for Saint Laurent was inspired by the brooding gangster’s leather trench coat, gold teeth and sharp but disheveled velvet tailoring, a nod to the original contributions of the marks half a century earlier.