Tagged: France

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy: Tom Hardy Echoes Steve McQueen’s Baracuta Jacket

Tom Hardy as Ricki Tarr in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Tom Hardy as Ricki Tarr in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)

Vitals

Tom Hardy as Ricki Tarr, disillusioned British spy

Paris, Spring 1974

Film: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Release Date: September 16, 2011
Director: Tomas Alfredson
Costume Designer: Jacqueline Durran

Background

With increasingly warmer weather as spring continues through the Northern Hemisphere, I’m swapping out wool coats for windbreakers at the front of my closet. Of course, on some recent climatically chaotic days that start at temperatures around freezing and then rise to over 70°F by mid-afternoon with the occasional burst of rain, I often rely on smart layers to effectively dress for this unpredictable weather.

One of my favorite examples of smart casual layering that illustrates versatility for different weather and situations is the combination of a Harrington jacket over a light sweater and open-necked shirt. William Claxton had famously photographed his friend Steve McQueen dressed accordingly in 1964, and these headshots are still used to illustrate the enduring style of both the jacket and the King of Cool himself.

Steve McQueen

Steve McQueen, dressed in his stone-colored Baracuta G9, open-neck shirt, and V-neck sweater, as photographed by his friend William Claxton in 1964.

Decades after his death in 1980, McQueen remains a seminal style icon whose blend of practicality and toughness has influenced scores of men from stars to schlubs (like yours truly)… and a few movie spies, as well. McQueen’s legacy seemed particularly prevalent on silver screen espionage fashions beginning in the late 2000s as Daniel Craig’s James Bond fully embraced Harrington jackets, shawl-collar cardigans, and suede boots as particularly seen in Quantum of Solace, his 007’s action-packed sophomore adventure.

Three years later, costume designer Jacqueline Durran also saw McQueen as her muse when dressing a fellow British agent, the more grounded—and cynical—Ricki Tarr, as portrayed by Tom Hardy in Tomas Alfredson’s adaptation of the John le Carré novel Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.

“We very much looked to that kind of ’60s Steve McQueen look for all of them,” Durran explained to GQ of Ricki Tarr’s costumes, first dressing Tarr in a Belstaff shearling coat often associated with McQueen before pulling together the lighter layers as seen in McQueen’s MGM headshot shoot with Claxton as the film approached its conclusion with Tarr in Paris, working to flush out an MI6 mole. Continue reading

Pierrot le Fou: Belmondo’s Prince of Wales Check Suit

Jean-Paul Belmondo as Ferdinand Griffon in Pierrot le Fou

Jean-Paul Belmondo as Ferdinand Griffon in Pierrot le Fou (1965)

Vitals

Jean-Paul Belmondo as Ferdinand Griffon, runaway husband

Paris, Spring 1965

Film: Pierrot le Fou
Release Date: November 5, 1965
Director: Jean-Luc Godard

Background

Born 89 years ago on April 9, 1933, today marks the first of Jean-Paul Belmondo’s birthdays since the iconic French actor died in September 2021. One of Bébel’s most memorable movies is the colorful Pierrot le Fou, a pop art equivalent of the French New Wave cinematic movement that marked the actor’s third and final collaboration with director Jean-Luc Godard. Continue reading

Paul Newman in Paris Blues

Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward

Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, filming Paris Blues (1961)

Vitals

Paul Newman as Ram Bowen, temperamental jazz trombonist

Paris, Fall 1960

Film: Paris Blues
Release Date: September 27, 1961
Director: Martin Ritt

Background

On this day in 1958, one of the most legendary marriages in Hollywood history began when Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward tied the knot in Las Vegas, three days after his 33rd birthday. The two had met earlier that decade during a Broadway production of Picnic and reunited while filming The Long, Hot Summer for director Martin Ritt. Newman and Woodward would co-star in several subsequent movies together, but their next collaboration with their ostensible “matchmaker” Ritt was Paris Blues, adapted from Harold Flender’s 1957 novel of the same name.

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Roger Moore’s Tracksuit in A View to a Kill

Roger Moore as James Bond in A View to a Kill (1985)

Roger Moore as James Bond in A View to a Kill (1985)

Vitals

Roger Moore as James Bond, British government agent

Château de Chantilly, France, Spring 1985

Film: A View to a Kill
Release Date: May 22, 1985
Director: John Glen
Costume Designer: Emma Porteous

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Well, now I’ve really gone and done it. After writing about the goombahs’ tracksuits in Goodfellas and The Sopranos over the last few years, I finally decided that this 00-7th of the month called for me to scribe my ode to Old Man 007 dressing himself in Paulie Walnuts’ finest in my least favorite James Bond movie, A View to a Kill.

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Paris Blues: Sidney Poitier’s Jazzy Flannel Suit

Sidney Poitier in Paris Blues (1961)

Sidney Poitier as Eddie Cook in Paris Blues (1961)

Vitals

Sidney Poitier as Eddie Cook, expatriate jazz saxophonist

Paris, Fall 1960

Film: Paris Blues
Release Date: September 27, 1961
Director: Martin Ritt

Background

Ten years ago, the United Nations established April 30 as International Jazz Day, a global celebration envisioned by Grammy-winning musician and UNESCO Goodwill ambassador Herbie Hancock “to highlight jazz and its diplomatic role of uniting people in all corners of the globe.” The observance feels ideal for taking a first look at the sleek style in Martin Ritt’s cooler-than-ice 1961 drama, Paris Blues, starring Paul Newman and Sidney Poitier as yankee jazzmen making their living in a French nightclub and romancing a pair of American tourists played by Joanne Woodward and Diahann Carroll.  Continue reading

Pierrot le Fou: Belmondo’s Red Shirt and Herringbone Jacket

Jean-Paul Belmondo as Ferdinand Griffon in Pierrot le Fou (1965)

Jean-Paul Belmondo and Anna Karina in Pierrot le Fou (1965). As cool as those sunglasses look, Bébel unfortunately never wears them with this outfit on screen.

Vitals

Jean-Paul Belmondo as Ferdinand Griffon, runaway husband

French Riviera, Summer 1965

Film: Pierrot le Fou
Release Date: November 5, 1965
Director: Jean-Luc Godard

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

He may spend most of Pierrot le Fou insisting his name is Ferdinand, but we all know he’s actually Jean-Paul Belmondo—also known as Bébel—the French star born 88 years ago today on April 9, 1933!

Pierrot le Fou was the third and final feature-length collaboration between Belmondo and Jean-Luc Godard, who had directed him to worldwide fame as the criminal protagonist in A bout de souffle (Breathless), considered a seminal work in establishing the French New Wave cinematic movement.

While both of these stylish films shared themes of criminality, philosophy, and doomed love, Pierrot le Fou pops from the screen with its colorful and surreal pop art-inspired presentation of the increasingly desperate Ferdinand Griffon abandoning his family life to join his dangerously free-spirited ex-girlfriend Marianne (Anna Karina) in a life of crime and seaside seclusion. Continue reading

Alain Delon’s Leather Jacket in Any Number Can Win

Alain Delon as Francis Verlot in Any Number Can Win (Mélodie en sous-sol) (1963)

Alain Delon as Francis Verlot in Any Number Can Win (Mélodie en sous-sol) (1963)

Vitals

Alain Delon as Francis Verlot, swaggering small-time thief

Paris, September 1960

Film: Any Number Can Win
(French title: Mélodie en sous-sol)
Release Date: April 3, 1963
Director: Henri Verneuil

Background

Any Number Can Win was adapted from Zekial Marko’s 1959 novel The Big Grab, the first of the author’s crime stories that would be adapted to films starring Alain Delon. Marko himself would adapt his novel Scratch a Thief into Once a Thief (1965), starring Delon, Ann-Margret, and Van Heflin.

Considered one of the best and certainly among the most stylish movies of the early 1960s, the ice-cool Any Number Can Win—released in France as Mélodie en sous-sol—begins with recently released ex-con Charles (Jean Gabin) searching for a new partner to help him with his ambitious heist. “I have a kid who just might jut cut it… I hope I don’t find him good for scrap.”

We then cut to what looks like a messy bachelor pad, where a young man is sprawled out on his bed, snapping his fingers to the jazz on his record player. He’s already dressed for larceny in his leather jacket, a dinner plate doubling as an ashtray—crowded with spent Gitanes and shelved on a pile of books—not far from his reach. Pulling back, we reveal that the “bachelor pad” is merely a corner of the family apartment that the young man shares with his reasonably concerned mother, whose shout from the kitchen leaps him to attention… revealing the one and only Alain Delon!

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Bonjour Tristesse: David Niven’s Coral Shirt and Sunglasses

David Niven as Raymond in Bonjour Tristesse (1958)

David Niven as Raymond in Bonjour Tristesse (1958)

Vitals

David Niven as Raymond, bon vivant widowed father

French Riviera, Summer 1957

Film: Bonjour Tristesse
Release Date: January 15, 1958
Director: Otto Preminger
Costume Coordinator: Hope Bryce

Background

Secluded for the summer at their villa in the Côte d’Azur, libertine Raymond and his equally free-spirited daughter Cécile (Jean Seberg) enjoy a comfortable and carefree season living la belle vie by the sea. In fact, Raymond and Cécile would have fared quite well had they needed to spend their summer in quarantine, as few outsiders enter their lives aside from whichever mistress (or two) Raymond is entertaining at the moment. These young women are typically no more than a few years older than Cécile, who grows particularly attached to his latest paramour, Elsa (Mylène Demongeot), to the extent that she joins Raymond in waking the vivacious blonde from her nude slumber and helps her apply sunscreen during one of their typical days spent on the beach.

While all may be cordial and close, there’s no getting between the fiercely intimate bond between Cécile and her father, of which Elsa comments: “You do not even need words… the perfect marriage!”

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The Snows of Kilimanjaro: Gregory Peck’s White Riviera Resortwear

Gregory Peck as Harry Street in Ernest Hemingway's The Snows of Kilimanjaro (1952)

Gregory Peck as Harry Street in Ernest Hemingway’s The Snows of Kilimanjaro (1952)

Vitals

Gregory Peck as Harry Street, expatriate writer and former newspaper reporter

French Riviera (Côte d’Azur), Summer 1936

Film: The Snows of Kilimanjaro
Release Date: September 17, 1952
Director: Henry King
Wardrobe Supervisor: Charles Le Maire

Background

Despite its wintry title, The Snows of Kilimanjaro was expanded significantly from Ernest Hemingway’s original short story for Henry King’s lush 1952 cinematic adaptation, featuring plenty of summertime fun in Côte d’Azur during its prewar heyday.

The rest of the world may have been suffering from the Great Depression, but Papa surrogate Harry Street has risen to literary stardom and is now living la belle vie, adrift in the Mediterranean while his latest paramour “Frigid Liz, the semi-iceburg of the semi-tropics” frolics in the warm sea around him. Though lovely, Countess Elizabeth (Hildegard Knef) is hardly the treasured Cynthia (Ava Gardner), and Harry admits he’s only attracted to Liz for her elusive qualities, describing in Papa-esque prose that “she was something to hunt down and trap and capture.”

In addition to today being the birthday of Ernest Hemingway, who entered the world July 21, 1899, today is also my 31st birthday!

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Pierrot le Fou: Belmondo’s Striped Shirt by the Sea

Jean-Paul Belmondo and Anna Karina in Pierrot le Fou (1965)

Jean-Paul Belmondo and Anna Karina in Pierrot le Fou (1965)

Vitals

Jean-Paul Belmondo as Ferdinand Griffon, runaway husband

French Riviera, Summer 1965

Film: Pierrot le Fou
Release Date: November 5, 1965
Director: Jean-Luc Godard

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Five years after their collaboration in À bout de souffle that established many of the unconventional conventions that would define French New Wave, director Jean-Luc Godard reteamed with charismatic star Jean-Paul Belmondo for a surreal and colorful classic with its scenes and themes of seclusion that make it feel all the more relevant during this strange summer that still finds many in self-isolation.

Life may always be sad, but it’s always beautiful.

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