Cinematic footwear: costume designs by Coco Chanel (II)
In our first cinematic footwear post about Coco Chanel we looked at the designer’s initial dealings in show business, her Hollywood escapade and her success in French film. In today’s post, we will focus on the massive impact she had on the Nouvelle Vague, or French New Wave, and the footprints she left that lead us right up to present-day film.
A muse for the leaders of the French New Wave
The directors and actresses involved in the French New Wave saw Chanel as an icon, a veritable gold standard of aesthetics for their films and the stars’ costumes, with her designs helping to flesh out the characters por-trayed.
One of her first partnerships with this group was with Louis Malle for The Lovers (Les amants, 1958). She dressed Jeanne Moreau, who would later turn to Chanel again for her wardrobe in Dangerous Liaisons (Les liaisons dangereuses, Roger Vadim, 1960).
That same year Chanel came out with one of her most popular costume designs yet, for Last Year at Marienbad (L’année dernière à Marienbad, Alain Resnais).
The little black dresses worn by Delphine Seyrig are unmistakably the work of Gabrielle, as is the unforgettable feather dress, both of which en-hance the star’s ethereal, almost ghostly, appearance. These creations were so popular in 2011 that the Chanel fashion house brought them back for their spring-summer collection.
In 1962, Coco Chanel teamed up with some of Italy’s most prestigious directors for Boccaccio ’70, a collaborative endeavour signed by Mario Monicelli, Federico Fellini, Luchino Visconti and Vittorio De Sica.
Chanel was tasked with dressing Romy Schneider, who was a close friend of the designer. The chemistry gushing between them became evident in the way the actress exquisitely flaunted the dresses, hats and shoes chosen for her.
Chanel’s influence on the French New Wave and European film in gen-eral was astounding. Directors and actresses alike turned to her for their costumes throughout her lifetime. For example, in 1968 Delphine Seyrig chose one of her dresses for Stolen Kisses (Baisers volés, François Truf-faut), for which she paid a personal visit to the designer’s couture atelier on Rue Cambon in Paris.
Chanel in present-day film
The footprint Gabrielle Chanel left on the world of fashion and costume design was so great that it can be seen even today. Here are a few ex-amples for you to get a feel for what we mean:
- Callas Forever (Franco Zeffirelli, 2002): Karl Lagerfeld took ad-vantage of this biopic to pay a worthy tribute to Coco Chanel, who was Maria Callas‘ lead stylist for years. Lagerfeld took on the challenge of not replicating exact designs, but rather recreating the clothes that Cha-nel made for Callas through his own lens.
- Café Society (Woody Allen, 2016): For this period film set in the 1930s, Allen’s costume designer, Suzy Benzinger, had the chance to dive into the brand’s archives to find the perfect dresses for Kristen Stewart. Her work involved creating identical copies of the chosen de-signs in barely a week’s time.
Here at O.SUR we believe that Coco Chanel’s simple elegance was that of a visionary. As a testament, our Cannes court shoes were designed to pair perfectly with timeless outfits, such as the Chanel jacket and skirt set. Like-wise, with Creta we play around with the two-coloured look inspired by the French house’s classic shoe.
Want to know more about Chanel? We invite you to check out our previous post about the designer and another focused on court shoes, in which Coco features greatly. Let us know your thoughts about these two posts and do not hesitate to get in touch with any queries!