6 of the Most Iconic French Fashion Moments in Film

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Often, the most memorable fashion moments in history take place off the runway, on the big screen. Film is a form of escapism, a celebration of maximalism, so it’s not surprising that, when given free reign of the imagination, designers can come up with some of their most outrageous and inspiring looks. Here are just a few of those unforgettable ensembles from French designers over the last century.

1. And God Created Woman (1956)

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The film that launched Brigitte Bardot to stardom, And God Created Woman follows the scandals of a hypersexual young woman wandering the French Riviera, leaving a trail of broken men in her wake. Designer Pierre Balmain outfitted Bardot for the role in a series of costumes that pushed the boundaries of acceptable sexuality in film. Most notably, this split skirt worn in a dance scene so provocative that the film was condemned by the National League of Decency.

2. Belle de Jour (1967)

Considered the masterpiece of director Luis Buñuel, Belle de Jour features Catherine Deneuve as an upper class Parisian woman who moonlights as a prostitute. Deneuve was so in love with the costumes designed for her by Yves Saint Laurent that she insisted on using him for her movies going forward. The outfits are at once sensual and proper, the perfect disguise for Deneuve’s duplicitous character.

3. Breakfast At Tiffany’s (1961)

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𝟓 𝐈𝐂𝐎𝐍𝐈𝐂 𝐋𝐎𝐎𝐊𝐒 𝐎𝐅 𝐇𝐎𝐋𝐋𝐘 𝐆𝐎𝐋𝐈𝐆𝐇𝐓𝐋𝐘⠀ ⠀ Upon its release in 1961, the Oscar-winning film Breakfast at Tiffany’s quickly became a classic, ⠀ ⠀ praised particularly for its star (the glamorous, gamine Audrey Hepburn) and her chic, oft-imitated style.⠀ ⠀ 𝐈 𝐰𝐚𝐬 𝐚𝐦𝐚𝐳𝐞𝐝 𝐛𝐲 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐠𝐨𝐫𝐠𝐞𝐨𝐮𝐬 𝐨𝐮𝐭𝐟𝐢𝐭𝐬 𝐀𝐮𝐝𝐫𝐞𝐲 𝐇𝐞𝐩𝐛𝐮𝐫𝐧 𝐰𝐚𝐬 𝐰𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐡𝐫𝐨𝐮𝐠𝐡𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐟𝐢𝐥𝐦.⠀ ⠀ Some of the most classic looks from the movie stretches from the LBDs, the cat-eye sunnies, her pink princess outfit and her chic trench coat.⠀ ⠀ 𝐈𝐭 𝐣𝐮𝐬𝐭 𝐠𝐨𝐞𝐬 𝐭𝐨 𝐬𝐡𝐨𝐰 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐠𝐨𝐨𝐝 𝐟𝐚𝐬𝐡𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐢𝐬 𝐭𝐢𝐦𝐞𝐥𝐞𝐬𝐬!⠀ ⠀ 𝐓𝐚𝐤𝐞 𝐚 𝐥𝐨𝐨𝐤 𝐚𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐬𝐞 𝐟𝐢𝐯𝐞 𝐭𝐢𝐦𝐞𝐥𝐞𝐬𝐬 𝐩𝐢𝐞𝐜𝐞𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐀𝐮𝐝𝐫𝐞𝐲 𝐇𝐞𝐩𝐛𝐮𝐫𝐧 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐞 𝐚𝐬 𝐇𝐨𝐥𝐥𝐲 𝐆𝐨𝐥𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭𝐥𝐲.⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ Photo inspirations from “My Fashion Inspiration” and Pinterest

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It’s hard to think of an outfit in the history of film as iconic as the one Hubert de Givenchy designed for Audrey Hepburn to wear as she stares longingly into Tiffany’s, croissant in hand. The most famous Little Black Dress of all time, a black satin sheath dress paired with extravagant jewelry and oversized sunglasses, the outfit is a work of art, and began a lifelong friendship between Hepburn and Givenchy.

4. Rear Window (1954)

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Legend has it that the sale of curtains and blinds was skyrocketed after the release of this film. What could go wrong when the classy, elegant, charming, charismatic, all-time-great Princess Grace de Monaco joined the Hitchcock-Stewart gang? A film that needs no introduction. So just spend a Sunday evening to appreciate Alfred Hitchcock's mastermind and Grace Kelly's mind-grabbing beauty. Rear Window (1954) Dir. Alfred Hitchcock / USA #iquotefilms #film #filmquotes #movie #moviequotes #cinema #relationship #love #lovequotes #quotes #gracekelly #alfredhitchcock #jamesstewart #mysterymovies #alltimebest #beautifulactress #arguing #bestmovies #romantic #qotd #princess #monaco #marriagequotes #classicmovies #goldenagehollywood #rearwindow

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Alfred Hitchcock’s seminal thriller features Grace Kelly as the original “Hitchcock blonde,” a wealthy socialite with cool charm and grandiose allure. Kelly’s most well-known costume is the ostentatious “New Look” gown designed by Christian Dior, with a fitted black bodice and voluminous white skirt, “right off the plane from Paris,” as Kelly’s character Lisa Fremont would tell it. Because what else would you wear to transition from gala to stakeout?

5. The Fifth Element (1997)

This science fiction flick by Hollywood veteran and French auteur Luc Besson stars Bruce Willis and Milla Jovovich in a fight against evil in space. But the real top billing should go to Jean Paul Gaultier, who designed the outrageous and unforgettable ensembles in the movie. His attention to detail is both exhausting and exuberant, with even the extras dressed to the nines in space age chic. Perhaps the best outfit of the film, however, is the white bodysuit that Jovovich’s Leeloo wears, reminiscent of some of the best of Gaultier’s 90s runway ensembles.

6. Gilda (1946)

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#RitaHayworth #Gilda

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A gambler and a casino owner are driven over the edge by the same woman, Rita Hayworth’s Gilda, a gallivanting casino moll with a jealous edge. A striptease scene in which Hayworth sings “Put the Blame on Mame” has her in a beguiling black gown designed by costume designer Jean Louis, who created, in that moment, one of the most fabulous femme fatales of the 40s.

Featured Image: Stock Photos from SariMe / Shutterstock