May 14, 2009

Coup de foudre (1983)

"Coup de foude" aka "Entre Nous" is a really beautiful French film about two married women who meet at their children's school play and quickly become best friends. Their friendship, however, slowly develops into something more than just platonic...

It won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film in 1984. What makes it so brilliant and well-done is that we, the audience, are not bombarded with any sexual explicitness, not even a passionate embrace, between the two women. Instead we follow them about their day, gaining insights into their hopes, dreams, sorrows, and fears. We tag along on picnics, family dinners, nights out, and trips to Paris. We become familiar with them through their deep friendship first so when things start to mature beyond that, we're able to understand and even appreciate the development of the unexpected romance.

Of course, the real reason I am highlighting this film is because I absolutely love the fashion in it. It takes place in Lyon, France in the 1950s. The two main characters are working, middle class women (one is a struggling artist and the other, the housewife of a car mechanic) and both are by no means rich or extravagant and yet they manage to pull off very chic, very put-together ensembles.

They also make a lot of their own clothes, using very simple but classic patterns.

Miou Miou's character (the brunette who's always holding a cigarette) wears a lot of plain, solid colored shirts, which she belts to show off her waist and pairs with ankle or capri-length pants and finishes off with ballet flats. It reminds me of the style of Carolina Herrera, Lauren Hutton, and even Katherine Hepburn. It's so simple yet so classic and elegant at the same time. Oh, and so quintessentially French.

When they do glam it up, their outfits are still kept minimal. The essential black dress matched with a bold accessory or two. Everything is always very streamlined, never over-bearing, never ostentatious.

Here they are at a fashion show in Paris. The two friends decided to make the trip because they're trying to open their own clothing boutique in Lyon and wanted to get some inspiration from the designer labels. It just goes to show that you really don't need a million bucks to look like a million bucks. You can translate any style to fit your own budget (whether you make your own clothes or buy a cheaper version of a designer dress).

The following are some images of their jackets and coats. Oh, and look how much a nice brooch adds to the overall look of an otherwise ordinary jacket.

Below is a collection of their more "boring, everyday" outfits. They wear a great deal of brown but I like how there's always a stand-out element that contrasts with it. For example, wearing the white belt with the brown tweed dress. But ultimately, I feel that chic is so much more who you are than what you wear. Both of these women would look amazing if they were wearing brown paper bags, and that's not just because they're beautiful actresses but because the characters themselves exude this confidence and this attitude that no thousand dollar dress can create for you.

Lastly, I just wanted to throw in a few images of the artist's apartment/studio. Just because I love rough sketches and unfinished sculptures.

Oh, and she has some sort of printing press as well. Although it's hard to tell exactly what it is.


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