Paris is the capital of the fashion industry, so it’s no wonder that movies set in this city celebrate all things sartorial so well. Here are twelve to add to your viewing (and dream-wardrobe) wishlist …
Leslie Caron plays an adorable Belle Époque courtesan-in-training; the frilly, feathery finery was confectioned by legendary photographer and designer Cecil Beaton. It’s a joy to behold.
This is the film that helped catapult, to stratospheric heights, the careers of lead actress Audrey Hepburn and her designer Hubert de Givenchy — and sealed Paris’s reputation as the world’s style capital (even though only a small, but key, part of the movie was set in the city). It’s worth watching for the little black cocktail dress alone, which inspired the now-classic Sabrina neckline.
Funny Face (1957)
Hepburn — who plays a bookish type sent to Paris to model the new-season collections (with costumes again designed by Givenchy) — shows once more how Paris is the city for transformations. The fashion shoot sequence, photographed by Richard Avedon in iconic Parisian locations, is the stuff of fashion legend.
Another showcase of the inspired partnership that is Hepburn and Givenchy, Charade sees the actress honing her neat, tailored signature style, and inspiring the more streamlined look of the 1960s.
Le Divorce (2003)
A sweet and bubbly adaptation of Diane Johnson’s hilarious novel, Le Divorce highlights an array of Parisian chic, from the low-key looks of well-heeled locals to the soignée style of expats desperate to lure out their inner Parisiennes. And for handbag lovers: the Hermès Kelly Bag plays such a significant role, it’s practically a character in itself.
Midnight in Paris (2011)
There are so many reasons to love this movie … the 1920s scenes, with their shimmying, shimmering dresses, is one of the major ones.
In this seminal New Wave movie, Jean Seberg plays Patricia, an American who’s supposed to be studying at the Sorbonne, but is instead dreaming of Dior dresses. However it’s the uniform she wears while selling copies of the New York Herald Tribune on the Champs-Élysées that becomes the style star. You can still buy her famous t-shirt to this day: click here.
With her colour-saturated clothes and clunky shoes, Amélie exploded onto the big screen as a new millennium fashion icon for the quirky at heart. She also sold to the world the blunt-fringed bob, a hair style that is quintessentially Parisian.
To discover Amélie’s Montmartre, click here.
Belle de Jour (1967)
The pairing of actress Catherine Deneuve with designer Yves Saint Laurent was as powerful as that of Hepburn and Givenchy, and the results are on spectacular display in this movie about a bored, bourgeois Parisienne exploring a life less inhibited.
Most scenes were filmed in Budapest, but this remains a sublimely Parisian movie in that it captures a key moment in the cultural history of the capital, and the emotional evolution of a young Colette, once of France’s most beloved authors. The costumes brilliantly mature with her, from fresh-faced country girl to gender-bending city slicker.
Michelle Pfeiffer is a vision in Stephen Frears’ adaptation of Colette’s novel about a courtesan’s affair with a much younger man, as are the flowing dresses of satin and lace trimmed with ribbons and bows, and the fabulously ornate Art Nouveau sets.
Henry & June (1990)
Telling the complicated love story of Henry Miller, his wife June, and author Anaïs Nin, this gorgeously art-directed movie also relays the tale of Paris in the 1930s, with its mood of erotic abandon and languid melancholy, and divine dresses to match — think long gowns in lace and velour that will see you scheduling in a trip to your nearest vintage shop.