French director Eric Rohmer ranks among the cinema’s very finest observers of human behaviour – and with behaviour comes clothes. The way we choose to dress comes third only to the way we talk and our non-verbal tics and expressions as an outward manifestation of our personalities and character.
For fashion fans, his films provide a treasure trove of everyday looks and outfits – never more so than in the string of masterpieces he made during the 1980s. In this series of ‘Comédies et Proverbes’, quite apart from the elegance of the plots and the emotions, for the retro-minded there is huge pleasure to be had from trendspotting.
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Clothes for the office, clothes for the beach, clothes for a disco – Rohmer’s films are an indelible sartorial record of what people in certain pockets of western Europe were wearing during this most gaudy of decades.
My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend (1987)
Amid the grey concrete surfaces of a new town near Paris, My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend (1987) has an especially great wardrobe, with Rohmer having huge fun with shades of blue and green…
…and shoulder pads…
There’s also some fabulous chunky knitwear…
…and this rather wonderful ensemble.
The Green Ray (1986)
Rohmer’s magnificent The Green Ray (1986) charts the forlorn efforts of a Parisian singleton to find happiness on her summer holiday.
But it must be said that some of the men Rohmer puts in her path are not the most enticing prospects.
Though some of these looks wouldn’t feel out of place today in the more outré parts of east London.
Four Adventures of Reinette and Mirabelle (1987)
Keep your eyes peeled in Four Adventures of Reinette and Mirabelle (1987) for this extravagantly bouffed shoplifter, spied by Mirabelle (Jessica Forde) during a trip to the supermarché.
A Good Marriage (1982)
As the protagonist’s beautiful best friend Clarisse in 1982’s A Good Marriage, actor Arielle Dombasle is very on trend with these shiny black leggings. Effortless style.
Later she’ll attend a fateful house party, where we encounter these lemon-yellow dungarees.
Full Moon in Paris (1984)
In Full Moon in Paris (1984), Louise’s (Pascale Ogier) lover Bastien (Christine Vadim) sports a range of nifty outfits.
Here he is peeling off his pink gloves at a house party.
And here getting down on the disco dancefloor.
The disco scenes in Rohmer’s films are amazing.
Pauline at the Beach (1983)
1983’s Pauline at the Beach is full of memorable beachwear and lounging outfits, with the teenage Pauline’s older cousin Marion (Arielle Dombasle again) looking stunning in every scene.
Marion’s elegance is contrasted with the gaudier style of sweet seller Louisette (Rosette), her unwitting love rival.
These white trousers are also a thing.
With pink sweater wrapped around his shoulders, jealous lover Pierre (Pascal Greggory) spies an act of infidelity through a bedroom window.
Even the postman makes an impression.
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