Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Stylin on 'em: The French New Wave

I am carrying on a life-long love affair. It's with French New Wave cinema.
Part of the reason that I've been a fan of the Nouvelle Vague for so long is because, as a cinematic form, it was one of the first to view film as more than a story telling method, but rather as an art.

But forget jump cuts and sound edits for now-- what it's really all about is style.

Directors aimed to capture the every-day life of the average Parisian of the time period, an exciting time for fashion. The 60s was the emergence of the new, laid back style that would become what's known today as the "gamine" look-- a casual, yet chic combination of basics and classics that manage to look effortlessly chic at all times. You can see the casual gamine look in full swing on popular actresses of the time like Anna Karina and Bridgette Bardot,but the most famous gamine of all wasn't actually French, but an American playing an American in a French film, Jean Seberg, in Godard's masterpiece "Breathless".

Short, skinny black jeans and a plain, fitted T with no bra. Flats to match, and a cute but laid back pixie cut. This is a basic of the gamine look, still so popular today. With the pixie cut making a strong comeback today, you can totally picture Seberg's character Patricia walking down Bedford Ave. today and looking nothing less than a hipster extraordinaire. The look is basic, comfortable, and something about it just screams sexy, in an unconventional way at least.

Casual basics, like Anna Karina's darkened crew neck sweater and plaid knee length skirt, can seem boring at first. But take a look at the hat perched on her head as she dances with the boys, and you realize that the confidence to wear a boyish haircut or a not-so-common-hat, no heels, and just a laid back Tshirt, is what makes a gamine hot!

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