Style: Love in the Afternoon

I grew up on a steady diet of old movies. My parents weren’t so keen on a lot of current stuff – too much sex, violence, language, that sort of thing, so we frequently watched the old movie channels. I think my style was greatly influenced by a lot of 1950s and 60s movies, such as Funny Face (a great fashion movie and gorgeous color) or Gigi. Musicals, black-and-white, color, westerns – really, whatever: I’m game. I have never been one to devalue something merely because it isn’t new. So often, the older movies are so much better than newer ones.  

I loved all of these movies so much that I even thought I wanted to be an actress for awhile. This was horrifying to my parents, but they wisely allowed me to let it run its course, and after 2 weeks as a theatre major at Pepperdine (where I was waaaaay in over my head), I decided to take my final bow (ha!) and pursue something else. Relief washed over my folks – I could hear it over the phone when I called in tears to tell them that I had decided to not pursue the stage. 🙂  Anyways. Another story for another day… I can recall one particularly bad day when I was supposed to give a monologue to my drama class, and I completely blanked out and forgot my lines. It was bad.

So, if I couldn’t be an actress and dress up in all those wonderful clothes, oh well — that was really all I wanted to do anyways, was wear the fabulous clothes. 

Dad and I had this running fascination with Love in the Afternoon, a cute little movie with a young Audrey Hepburn and an aging (yet handsome) Gary Cooper. She’s young, and her father is a private eye in Paris, assigned to watch over Gary Cooper, who is a very busy playboy, involved in hilarious, well-documented escapades around the world with various women. I recently watched this movie again – yay for Netflix on demand! – and I was taken again not only with the gorgeous clothes, but the glamorous locales.

As a student in Paris during college, I remember walking across the Place Vendome, and gazing up at the Ritz. Wouldn’t it be marvelous, romantic, even? It remains the same today, just as it is in the movie. I would even be happy to stay in one of the little chambres des bonnes, the tiny maids’ quarters at the top of many of the old Haussman-era Parisian buildings. But if I went, I would have to have the perfect wardrobe, a la Audrey. Audrey Hepburn’s clothes are nothing if magnificent (what else is new), but the little black dresses she wears as a part of her role as a cellist remain timeless and chic. Anyway, queue this one up on Netflix and enjoy. And be sure to keep an eye out for her gorgeous gowns.

Other great Paris and/or fashion movies:
Gigi (a gorgeous scene at the end in this amazing white satin gown)
Funny Face
Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amelie Poulain 
Sabrina (old and new)
Love in the Afternoon

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4 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Kathleen said,

    Rachel, have you seen Breathless (A bout de souffle) (1959)? It’s my all-time vintage style-icon movie with Jean Seberg. In college I cut all my hair off and started wearing liquid liner because of this movie. I also really love Hitchcock’s Rear Window. And of course, Cabaret was always a huge influence in my life as far as musicals go.

  2. 2

    Rachel said,

    I have a theory that all of my French love – French major, study abroad, what have you – stems from many viewings if Gigi as a child.

  3. 3

    Kermit said,

    thank you, rachel. Nice thoughts. I’m sorry that the last photo didn’t materialize. UK

  4. 4

    Kathleen, no, I haven’t seen that one! I’ll bet I’d love it. Umbrellas of Cherbourg is another good one, too.

    Anything Hitchcock is a winner. Grace Kelly is so gorgeous in Rear Window; North by Northwest is one of our alltime faves.


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