The Best Moments Of French Fashion On Film

Photo: Snap Stills/Rex/REX USA.
March 4 marked the start of Paris Fashion Week, and the final stop during tour de fashion month for the women's 2015 fall ready-to-wear collections. The integral and infamous front rows will be filled with a who's who of editors, socialites, and, of course, celebrities. The relationship between designers and actresses does not begin and end with fashion week though — these creative craftsmen have often relied on leading ladies for inspiration.

Lucky for us, Hollywood has also embraced Parisian designers, relying on them to dress their characters to the nines. French fashion has been front and center in a number of notable films, from Audrey Hepburn donning Givenchy in Funny Face to Cate Blanchett carrying a Birkin throughout Blue Jasmine. Ahead, we've rounded up 12 epic examples of movies where the style is almost as stunning (and sometimes more) than the storyline. Even if you can't be in Paris this week, you can live vicariously through these films.
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Photo: Snap Stills/Rex/REX USA.
Hubert de Givenchy: Funny Face

Audrey Hepburn fell for Givenchy after wearing several of his dresses in the film Sabrina. She loved his clothing so much, she insisted the designer create originals for all her future films — it was actually written into her contract. The first example of this is the fashion magazine cult classic Funny Face, where an editor on the hunt for the next It Girl learns of Hepburn's character, a shy and mousey bookstore clerk who eventually agrees to go along with a modeling assignment in Paris in hopes of meeting her favorite philosopher residing in the same city. We'd like to think Diana Vreeland, the inimitable New York fashion editor for whom the film is rumored to be loosely based, was pleased with the results. "Think Pink" people!
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Photo: Everett Collection/REX USA.
Cristóbal Balenciaga: La Dolce Vita

Long before Alexander Wang became the creative director, the esteemed French fashion house Balenciaga was famous for the black dress — each of his runway shows started out with a model wearing one. In 1960, Cristóbal ("the master of us all," according to Christian Dior) became the master of the silver screen, when Fellini credited the designer for inspiring one of his most famous films, La Dolce Vita. The Italian director was moved by Balenciaga's famous sack dress, even though none of the women in the film ever actually donned the frock. Brunello Rondi, who cowrote the script, explained: "These sack dresses struck Fellini because they rendered a woman very gorgeous who could, instead, be a skeleton of squalor and solitude inside."
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Photo: SNAP/Rex/REX USA.
Christian Dior: Stage Fright

Former "box office poison" Marlene Dietrich established a close relationship with Christian Dior during his first runway show in 1947 — the 'it' moment of inception for his signature "figure eight" silhouette. At the height of her comeback, Dietrich famously refused to accept a starring role in Alfred Hitchcock's crime drama Stage Fright, a love-triangle murder mystery set in the English theater, unless Dior was hired to design the costumes. Dietrich got her wish and more, with Hitchcock inviting the actress to take home her character's wardrobe after the movie wrapped. Cue Evita's "Rainbow High": "They need to adore me, so Christian Dior me!"
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Photo: Everett Collection/REX USA.
Azzedine Alaïa: A View to Kill

Azzedine Alaïa (often referred to as the "king of cling") gained on-camera acclaim for his work with his dear friend Grace Jones in the James Bond spy flick, A View to Kill. The Tunisian-born couturier designed the slinky body-con wardrobe for Jones, reflecting the fierce independence of her character May Day, who is seemingly unfazed by Bond's romantic pursuit. In the words of Cher Horowitz, Alaïa is indeed "like a totally important designer" — just ask the French Ministry of Culture, who presented Alaïa the award for Best Designer of the Year in 1984. Jones actually carried the designer to the stage to accept the award.
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Photo: Moviestore Collection/Rex/REX USA.
Thierry Mugler: Indecent Proposal

Who could forget Demi Moore's performance in 1993's Indecent Proposal? More specifically, who could forget that black cut-out dress? Not us. In the sexy drama, Moore's character, Diana Murphy, desires unattainable wealth, which is represented in the Thierry Mugler gown. The dress became the first touch of gray in her black-and-white moral code and a closet aspiration for every fashion girl out there. In a '90s version of going viral, the garment was quickly knocked off and trending IRL at black-tie occasions across the country.
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Photo: FoxSearch/Everett/REX USA.
Louis Vuitton: The Darjeeling Limited

Never has there ever been a Wes Anderson film where we didn't want to haul off with the entire wardrobe. We thought we might actually have a shot when Louis Vuitton announced the design of exclusive luggage for Anderson's indie gem The Darjeeling Limited — a story of three brothers (Jason Schwartzman, Adrien Brody, and Owen Wilson) traveling on a train across India, luxury luggage in tow, under the guise of visiting with their mother. In the end, the luggage was never made accessible to the public, and with Marc Jacobs (the creative mastermind behind the collaboration) no longer designing for the house, we fear our public plea for reconsideration will go unanswered. You can't always get what you want.
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Photo: via A24.
Christian Louboutin: The Bling Ring

If you were coming-of-age during the early 2000s, then you probably wondered what Paris Hilton's closet looked like. Lucky for us, the heiress famously let Sofia Coppola film scenes of The Bling Ring in her amazing home. The 2013 satire recounts the story of real-life L.A. teens who Internet-stalked, and then burgled, the homes of the tabloid elite (including Hilton). One scene shot in Hilton's gigantic closet shows rows and rows of Christian Louboutin heels. The French shoe designer, who was already a household name, gained even greater exposure thanks to Emma Watson and co.'s desire for those red-soled stilettos.
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Photo: Everett Collection/REX USA.
Yves Saint Laurent: Belle de Jour

Yves Saint Laurent and Catherine Deneuve developed the quintessential artist/muse relationship on the set of Luis Buñuel's Belle de Jour, a '60s drama based upon the book of the same name. Yves encouraged the actress to move away from current fashion trends and step into longer hemlines for the role. The unexpected move added further dimension to the double-life(style) of her character, Séverine Serizy, who is both a housewife and a prostitute. In an homage to Deneuve, the title of the film later became the name of one of the brand’s popular clutches, the Belle du Jour.
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Photo: REX USA.
Hermès: Blue Jasmine

Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine is the story of a self-made woman, so to speak, who loses it all due to a combination of her husband's creative bookkeeping and her mental breakdown. Cate Blanchett plays Jasmine (a role that earned her an Academy Award), a woman who relocates from New York to San Francisco in an attempt to reinvent herself. Throughout the film, Jasmine carries a camel Birkin bag by Hermès — one of the few belongings she was able to hide from Uncle Sam. The leather handbag represents the character's struggle to feel as though she has maintained some semblance of social status from her former life. A Birkin never bummed us out so hard.
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Photo: Moviestore Collection/Rex/REX USA.
Pierre Balmain: And God Created Woman

Way before Kim Kardashian began stepping out in Balmain designs by Olivier Rousteing, Pierre Balmain, the man, was tasked with outfitting another sex kitten. In the French drama And God Created Woman, Brigitte Bardot plays Juliette, an orphan who tests the patience of her foster family by expressing her sexual prowess. The film was a blockbuster success, and it made the 21-year-old Bardot an instant star. "The architecture of movement" indeed!
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Photo: ITV/Rex/REX USA.
Jacques Fath: The Red Shoes

On the short list of influential post-World War II French designers, Jacques Fath sprung to fame with his intricate gowns worn by actress Moira Shearer in The Red Shoes. The ballet drama centers around Vicky Page, played by Shearer, who is discovered by mere chance and then placed on a fast track to becoming the next international ballet star. The ballerina's drive and good fortune is compounded with jealousy and politics, which leads Page to a tragic end. At least the elaborate creations by Fath were a fairy tale.
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Photo: Moviestore Collection/Rex/REX USA.
Chanel: The Devil Wears Prada

One of the most memorable marriages in recent history between film and style was on the set of The Devil Wears Prada. The movie takes place in the HQ of the industry's leading fashion and lifestyle publication, Runway, where a nerdy Anne Hathaway gets the makeover of a lifetime, thanks to some help from the magazine's epic fashion closet. Naturally, the fairy tale makeover begins thanks to Chanel — remember, it's the devil who wears Prada, not the heroine! All it takes is a pair of thigh-high leather boots, a tweed blazer, and several strands of pearls emblazoned with those iconic double Cs to turn our intrepid journalist into a fashion icon. Ironically, Coco Chanel wasn't really interested in outfitting the Hollywood elite on set, having publicly commented on her preference for working directly with private clients in the 1930s.
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