Tag Archives: jean luc goddard

Take your Fedoras off to Jean-Paul Belmondo

1 Nov

 

This is another update of the setting trends posts. However in the other posts I set out to highlight movies that 6-12 months down the lines the masses will get their style tips from. This post is an ode to a classic and a style that is timeless,urbane and seemingly effortless. The film that set the 1960’s alight was Jean Luc Goddard’s Breathless, the actor that made the movie even cooler was Jean-Paul Belmondo. Breathless was really the start of the influential French New Wave with it’s characteristic techniques such as long takes,jump cuts, ad-lip and on-location shooting. This little movie gave a glimpse of how life in the sixties was in Paris and I’m sure boosted American tourists in France ten fold.

  

The plot is simple Jean-Paul Belmondo’s character Michel shoots a police officer in Marseille and then is on the run. He arrives in Paris to try and persuade his current love interest Jean Seberg, as the American Patricia, to elope with him to Italy. We are shown Paris through beautiful shots in cars, on the boulevards and the night spots. All of this to the backdrop of a great jazz soundtrack. As an experimental film Breathless is a complete success the whole movie was shot on a hand held camera and the use of real locations with no permits obtained, so improvisation was the key.

   

However what I want to discuss is Jean-Paul Belmondo’s sartorial genius. For me Belmondo is up there with Steve McQueen on the lists of all time style icons. Goddard put no restraints or pressures on his actor’s wardrobes and let them have free reign. This paved the way for Belmondo’s brilliance. Breathless  was obviously shot in the summer but Belmondo dismisses the conformity of summer wear and opts for heavy tweed jackets, wool ties and trousers and capped with his iconic fedora. His relaxed, I don’t care look is merely a ploy as his outfits are meticulously chosen and assembled.

 

Belmondo was a trend setter and his debonair style is totally back in at the moment. With a nod back to 60’s and 70’s patterns and tweed in full swing this Autumn and Winter. Belmondo’s vintage wardrobe would be completely apt right now. His use of matching Tweed caps with knit ties and beautiful herringbone jackets. Even in some fashion lines high waist trousers are making a comeback, check out the COS men’s Autumn/Winter 2012 collection. However the only part of Belmondo’s wardrobe that I think will stay in the anons of style history are his beautiful fedora with himself and his inspiration Humphrey Bogart but I’d be pleased to be proved wrong.

     Jean Paul Belmondo Breathless

Also Belmondo’s movement in this movie is extremely elegant and delicate which always comes as a surprise when I watch his movies. He draws the viewer in and leads you off again, he has a natural grace about him. I recently read that he trained as a boxer and this is obviously where his natural deftness derives from. In his scenes with Jean Seberg this is most evident and we can see her being drawn to him and then repelled by his language and views which is the great contrast in the film.

   

Jean Seberg also has to be discussed here in relation the fashion and trend setting. With her use of bold sailor stripes, black skinny pants, ballet shoes, cat liner and cat-eye sunglasses to boot. She has a pixie haircut that was fast becoming the must have hair style for fashionable and sexy women of the 1960’s. She looks effortlessly gorgeous throughout the movie whether she is selling the New York Herald Tribune on the Champs Elysees or dashing of to interview a famous novelist. Also Seberg looks extremely sexy in Belmondo’s grandad shirt and Fedora sporting the boyfriend look before many of her contemporaries. Seberg’s style is also back in at the moment and has been many times since Breathless’s release. She has been payed homage many times for her style being cited in many fashion magazines throughout the years.

   

Both Seberg and Belmondo’s fantastic style owes heavily to the eventual success of Breathless in my view, giving it a timeless feel. If this was Goddard’s initial intention, I can’t be sure but either way it makes for great viewing. It strange how Belmondo was never really taken to in America as he surely had the charm and the refinement. Anyway in my view he was a true style icon and I take my fedora of to the one and only Jean-Paul Belmondo.