Belle de Jour: Style in film

A young and stunning Catherine Deneuve, costumes by Yves Saint Laurent shoes by Roger Vivier. Belle de Jour is the movie who every fashion addicted should see

Belle de Jour is a milestone in the history of cinema, for the first time a director, the brilliant Luis Buñuel, compares with erotic female fantasies narrating in a way that no one else had ever attempted before. With great discretion, without revealing anything of explicit and avoiding any kind of vulgarity. Belle de Jour (1967) tells the story of Séverine, an upper-middle-class wife who despite having a loving husband, and and that she loves, discovers a need to live out her sexual fantasies and spends her afternoons as Belle, a prostitute in a luxurious Parisian brothel.  Belle de Jour marked the beginning of a unique partnership, and also of a long friendship, between Catherine Deneuve, that in the movie plays the role of Severine, and the famous designer Yves Saint Laurent, who designed all her costumes, and fixed the image of the french actress as the epitome of chic burgeoise.

Yves Saint Laurent did an excellent job. With Luis Buñuel’s help and under his direction, Saint Laurent managed to convince Catherine Deneuve not to wear too short skirts in the movie in a time when mini-skirts were in fashion, so that the film would never become outdated. Yves Saint Laurent worked very well also with the director, who know exactly what he wanted to express through the clothes, and Saint Laurent understanding that garments must be sewn on the character. Figure-hugging, tailored, minimalist and cut just above the knee, including an element of sexual display, but a controlled and class-coded one, which protected the heroine. In all the movie Catherine Deneuve pairs her Saint Laurent wardrobe with Roger Vivier pilgrims, a best-seller shoes model since the launch of the movie.

The style in this movie has survived through generations, a quality of all Yves Saint Laurent’s designs, noted for their ‘classic modernity’ and cement the image of Catherine Deneuve as a “cold, remote erotic object which dreams are made on” (BBC Radio film critic Phillip French). This movie is a master study of costume design revealing character. Even her hair styles offer you clues. As Severine, you see Deneuve donning clothes in innocent shades. As Belle, and even contemplating being Belle, she struts around Paris in dark browns and black from head to toe. Fabrics, too, are tough yet titillating. Fur. Leather. Vinyl. All the clothes helps Severine present a proper appearance during her double life.

 

 

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