Romy Schneider in “Les choses de la vie” (1970)
I’ve been on a string of French movies lately, including revisiting almost all of François Truffaut’s films, making me fall in love with them all over again. But today I want to talk about style in French films. It so happens that so many of the films I have been watching display timeless wardrobes. I am talking about the Nouvelle Vague, of course, which not only experimented with new film form, but approached costume design differently, too, making street wear and every New Wave muse (from Jean Seberg and Anna Karina to Anouk Aimée and Jeanne Moreau) cool. But there are films of the 70s and 80s as well, which prove time and again that simplicity never goes wrong and that menswear often looks better on women.
Le choses de la vie (The Things of Life) (1970), by Claude Sautet (another director who occupies a unique place in French cinema), is about life, love, about the personal choices you have to make in life, about life governed by chance. What I love so much about many French films is that they are about real life, about things we have lived, about things that can happen to us. We identify easily with the characters, with how they feel, act, dress. Romy Schneider’s men’s inspired blue shirt and blue jeans look is universally appealing. Yes, that has to do, in great part, with Romy’s unequalled allure – warm and inviting yet always mysterious – and with the ageless beauty and elegance of the classic pieces she is wearing, but it’s also about the familiar, totally at ease, not trying too hard feeling that look evokes. Sautet’s films often indicate that his protagonists are always among us. The clothes you are wearing are a reflection of your life. Les choses de la vie.
Romy Schneider and Michel Piccoli in “Les choses de la vie” (1970)
photos: film stills “Les choses de la vie” | Fida Cinematografica, Lira Films, Sonocam