Oui oui, French style
Are the French the world's most stylish women?

Mar 04, 2013 12:45
by Angie Fox

The 24th annual Alliance Francaise French Film Festival opens in Melbourne and Sydney this week, which reminds us not only of the achingly svelte French aesthetic, but also of the fact that they are the world’s most stylish women both on and off screen.

One need only think of the Gaultier-clad French ingénue Marion Cotillard who left men and women swooning in her wake when she nabbed the Best Actress Oscar for her portrayal of Edith Piaff. A year later, in an equally swoon-worthy moment, she touched down at LAX -- en-route to the Oscars, this time as a presenter -- wearing a chic cashmere beanie teamed with jeans and woollen blazer.

Juliette Binoche, Audrey Tautou, Virginie Ledoyen, Vanessa Paradis … French actresses have been doing it for decades. Think of the smouldering Brigitte Bardot frolicking in the surf in the 1956 classic And God Created Woman, of Catherine Deneuve as the bored housewife cum prostitute in Luis Bunuel’s Belle Du Jour or effortlessly chic Charlotte Gainsbourg’s off-duty rock star locks, skinny jeans and tee under trench combo.

When Clemence Poesy joined the cast of Gossip Girl back in Season 4, a show that was all about fashion suddenly became far more fashionable. And amid all the violence and gore in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds the luminous Melanie Laurent stood tall, blonde and, despite it being a period piece, stylish.

At this year’s French Film Festival the new guard is being represented by Lea Seydoux, who until now is best known to Aussie audiences as the unassuming French beauty who stole Owen Wilson’s heart at the end of Woody Allen’s Midnight In Paris.

The granddaughter of Pathe Chairman Jerome Seydoux, Lea, 27, stars in two films this festival: Farewell My Queen for which she was nominated for a 2013 Cesar Award for best actress and Sister. Off screen this bevy of former models unite with Parisians on the streets in adhering to the French fashion sensibility: be chic, smart, casual, tailored, slightly edgy but utilitarian and always wear an oversized scarf and carry a slouchy bag.

So, do you agree that the France produces the world's most stylish women?

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