3 Stylish Movies Every Francophile Should Watch

Plus, how to dress up like a French leading lady!

Source: Coco Before Chanel

What is it about the French that makes them irresistible to us fashion girls? Is it their propensity to create avant-garde clothing? Their perfectly undone hair and makeup? Their “c’est la vie” attitude towards the world? (Or… is the idea of the chic French girl all in our heads?)

Whatever the reason may be, it’s a universal truth that we Americans look to Paris for the latest in fashion and beauty trends

(There’s a reason, after all, why Anna Wintour-substitute Miranda Priestly from The Devil Wears Prada calls the Paris couture shows her most important event of the year!)

While the importation of high-street labels from Paris into our wardrobes might be out of the question for most of us, it never hurts to gain inspiration from this legendary birthplace of cool-girl looks.

Without further ado, here are three exceptional films every Francophile should watch — all related to fashion, of course!

Coco Before Chanel (2009)

Why is it important? 

After you’ve watched Audrey Tautou star as the whimsical titular character in critically-praised Amélie, you’ll love seeing her quiet strength bubble up to a creative apex in Coco Before Chanel

While the film doesn’t adhere strictly to historical accuracy (honestly, what biopic does?), it’s delightful, gorgeous, and every bit as elegant as the oft-quoted legend behind it.

Who’s the fashionable lead? 

Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel (played by Audrey Tautou)

How can I copy her style? 

Coco Chanel was defined by her fitted and sophisticated clothing line, which she set apart from others of the era by drawing inspiration from menswear.

While you don’t have to be tomboyish or over-the-top to get the Chanel look, wearing something like a vintage quilted jacket and accessorizing it with classic pearl jewelry will help you to imitate Chanel tastefully.

The Well-Digger’s Daughter (2011)

Why is it important? 

It’s hard enough to find a decent war period piece that doesn’t feature any of the fighting whatsoever, but to find one that is as visually stunning and beautifully slow-paced as The Well-Digger’s Daughter is near impossible. 

Shot in the south of France, this film is chock full of eye candy. As well, the costumes are gorgeous and complementary to the romantic setting.

Who’s the fashionable lead? 

Patricia Amoretti (played by Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey). 

How can I copy her style? 

Though Patricia is but the oldest daughter of a well-digger, her wardrobe is anything but plain. Sporting loose-fitting, Peter Pan collared dresses with small floral patterns, polka dot shawls, and peasant headwraps, Patricia embodies French country chic.

The best way to access her style is through a thrift store, especially one that might have ’40s-style dresses.

Marie Antoinette (2006)

Why is it important? 

Madame Déficit, “Let them eat cake,” and other negative identifiers are attributed to Marie Antoinette, the last queen of France. But was she really so horrible?

In Marie Antoinette, Sofia Coppola debunks the myths surrounding the queen, portraying her in a sympathetic light and using bubbly pop music and a fun wardrobe to show the young queen at her best — and her worst.

Who’s the fashionable lead? 

Marie Antoinette (played by Kirsten Dunst).

How can I copy her style? 

Unless you know how to sew, eighteenth century haute couture French fashion is not easily accessible. 

Still, the heavy floral details, pastel colors, and sheer extravagancy of the Rococo movement can certainly be found in department stores today, even if it’s just in a jeweled pink choker or an elaborate hair accessory. (If you recall, Marie Antoinette was quite wild about her hair.) 

Pile on piece after piece and you’ve got the gist of it!

Thoughts?

What are your favorite French or French-inspired movies to watch? How about fashion-related films? Is there another topic you’d like to see covered on CF?

Tell us in the comments box below!


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