French Retro Summer Styleby Katia Jean Paul
published July 03, 2013
Taking a page from Jacques Demy’s sartorial book
The French New Wave gave us Truffault, Godard, Chabrol, and unbeknownst to many, Jacques Demy. An unlikely rebel, Demy eschewed the documentary format and heavily politically-laced directing style of his contemporaries, opting instead to bring the magic of the golden age of Hollywood to the big screen, complete with joyous musical numbers, whimsical narratives, and candy-coated Technicolor. This month, TIFF Cinematheque pays tribute to the late French filmmaker with a full retrospective of Demy’s work entitled, Bitter/Sweet: The Joyous Cinema of Jacques Demy. Below, we draw inspiration from the cinematic auteur’s other legacy: French candy-coloured style.
Clockwise from top left: Gene Kelly and Françoise Dorléac share a dance and a song in The Young Girls of Rochefort; Françoise Dorléac and Catherine Deneuve in The Young Girls of Rochefort; Françoise Dorléac, Catherine Deneuve, George Chakiris, and Grover Dale deliver a joyous number in The Young Girls of Rochefort; Catherine Deneuve and Françoise Dorléac breaking into song in The Young Girls of Rochefort; Catherine Deneuve in The Umbrellas of Cherbourg; and Françoise Dorléac and Jacques Perrin in The Young Girls of Rochefort.
Classic French style meets candy-coloured glam
In addition to fantasy tinged with sadness, sartorial inspiration runs rampant in Demy’s work, most notably in The Young Girls of Rochefort (Les demoiselles de Rochefort), and the enchanting but melancholic The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (Les parapluies de Cherbourg). Pleated, and billowy skirts and dresses, skinny trousers, sunny cardigans, and the classic French beret or wide-brimmed hat in bright candy-coloured pastels share centre stage with stars Catherine Deneuve, George Chakiris, Françoise Dorléac, and Gene Kelly, who in signature Demy-style, break into song or partake in flash mob dance scenes for our viewing pleasure. One need not look too far back in time to see reverberations of this singular style. With stores replete with French retro-inspired fashions, this summer, we’ll be channeling the bright, cheery style of Demy’s leading ladies all season long. Won’t you join us?
1. Wow Cotton Sleeveless Shirt, $58 at French Connection and online.
2. Pleated Mini Skirt (Lavender), $59.90 at Zara and online.
3. Echo Metallic Floppy Hat (in White), $50 at Hudson’s Bay and online.
4. Patent Blucher, 89.90 at Zara and online.
5. Material Girl Gonyou Fold over Oversized Clutch with Wristlet, $45 at Hudson’s Bay and online.
Bitter/Sweet: The Joyous Cinema of Jacques Demy plays until July 20 at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. Also running from July 2 to August 20 is Paradise Regained: Demy’s Favourites, a sidebar series to the retrospective, which showcases some of Demy’s cinematic inspirations, including the classic Hollywood musicals An American in Paris, and Singin’ in the Rain. For the complete schedule, please visit tiff.net.