Sorry Ladies, when we say New Wave we don’t mean feathered 80s bangs and Depeche Mode. If you don’t know, let us put you on to New Wave Cinema, a French film movement that people sit up and take notice of fashion’s importance to culture at large.
Emerging in the 60s, directors that were a part of the growing New Wave movement aimed to capture the every-day life of the average Parisian of the time period, an exciting time for fashion. The 60s was the breeding ground for the laid-back, distinctly French style that would become what’s known today as the “gamine” look, a casual combination of basics and classics that manage to look chic at all times. Because the 1960s was also a time of political rebellion in France, students and other young people (particularly women) were actively involved in shaking up the status quo and getting the government to change their outdated and unfair policies on education, immigration, and other socially pressing issues. Looking stunning was the last thing on a woman’s mind. Instead, she wore flats and breezy dresses perfect for protesting in, and donned schoolboy looks that were heavily influenced by political idols like Mao Zedong. The combination of classic cuts, simple fabrics, and basic prints (stripes and easy florals) became a favorite for Parisian women whether at work, at the supermarket, and especially in the picket lines.
We’ll put you in the fashionable know – this distinctly French style was immortalized by the New Wave god Jean Luc Godard. Take a look at the clip below from one of his more complex New Wave films A Woman is a Woman (Une Femme Est Une Femme). His protegee, Anna Karina, plays an exotic dancer who daydreams of a whimsical lifestyle beyond the economic stresses of stripper-dom. While strolling the streets, she looks unbelievably chic in her flats, colored tights, and basic skirt. Throw on a trench to complete the fit, and she looks every bit the New Wave star.
Godard’s breakout film, the classic “Breathless” is the best example of the New Wave movement’s impact on fashion today. The story of a young American girl, Patricia, in Paris who falls in love with a goofy, lovable gangster, the fashion in the film stays simple but somehow mesmerizes you. Patricia’s cropped skinny black jeans and flats to match, topped off with a cute but laid back pixie cut, is THE basic gamine look, still so popular today. With the pixie cut making a strong comeback today, you can totally picture her walking down Bedford Ave. today and looking nothing less than a hipster extraordinaire. Comfortable and effortless, something about it just screams sexy, in an unconventional way at least.
Peep the below dance scene from “Band a Parte.” Casual basics, like Anna Karina’s darkened crew neck sweater and plaid knee length skirt, can seem boring at first. But take a look at the hat perched on her head as she dances with the boys, and you realize that the confidence to wear a boyish haircut or a not-so-common-hat, no heels, and just a laid back Tshirt, is what makes New Wave’s gamine hot!
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