If your only knowledge of American actress Jean Seberg is of her turns in iconic French New Wave films like Breathless and Bonjour Tristesse, new biopic Seberg, starring Kristen Stewart and released this week, will prove that her legacy extends far beyond her cinematic work.
While every cinephile will remember her in Jean-Luc Godard's 1960 film Breathless, frolicking around Paris in her New York Herald Tribune T-shirt with nouvelle vague star Jean-Paul Belmondo, Seberg's life was about so much more than her gamine silver screen image: most notably, her civil rights activism and association with the Black Panther Party.
The actress lived a pretty wild existence for the time: a Midwestern girl-next-door who struck gold when cast in 1957's Saint Joan, she was soon adopted by the French film scene, becoming one of their most treasured expats. Her later life was defined by FBI intimidation and harassment as a retaliation to her political activism, with counter-intelligence agencies spreading vicious rumours that aimed to destroy her career and tarnish her name in a volatile and segregated America.
We won't spoil the rest but, as the new film shows, Seberg's life was full of both light and dark. A contradictory and complex figure – an icon in France and an enemy of the state in America – it's her '60s and '70s nouvelle vague style (both on and off screen) that is referenced time and time again, and inspires contemporary French cool girls like Jeanne Damas and Violette.
From black capri pants to Breton striped tops, ballet flats, pencil skirts, androgynous tailoring and nautical tank tops, her nonchalant style feels as fresh today as it did back then. Ahead, we've recreated six of Seberg's most delightful looks, from silk scarves tied artfully around windswept hair to rouge rollnecks that perfectly convey her je ne sais quoi.