Silk Socks with a Tweed Jacket – The Style of Breathless

French director Jean-Luc Godard’s 1960 film Breathless tells the simple tale of Michel (played by Jean-Paul Belmondo) a fugitive from the law, trying to convince Patricia (played by Jean Seberg) to run away with  him.  With such a straight forward plot, the other elements of the film take on great importance.  Breathless is widely known as a groundbreaking technical film because of the way it was shot and Godard’s editing style, but the film is also equally as remarkable from a stylistic standpoint.  Michel’s wardrobe is far from polished, with loose fitting suits and white athletic socks, his outfits indicate that Michel is not the high class man that he attempts to masquerade as.  The clothes also provide a nice glimpse into French style from that period, including high button stances, broad shouldered sportcoats and short ties.  Most interestingly, while Michel’s clothes are imperfect in so many ways, it is the way in which he wears them that makes his character.  Belmondo has admitted that he modeled the character of Michel after Humphrey Bogart and it is this collected and poised attitude that makes Michel look so cool.  His suit might be too large, his hat may look beat up and crooked, but Michel carries himself in a way that makes everything work.  No matter how his clothes look throughout the film, behind his black sunglasses, ever present cigarette and composed demeanor Michel always appears as if everything is exactly how he meant it to be.

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1 comment
  1. It’s amazing to look back to the past and see some of the same influences we see today. It’s almost like watching a history lesson following you.

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