Belle de Jour (1967), Director Luis Buñuel, Designer Yves Saint Laurent.
As in the last Movie Moments post, ‘Funny Face’, this week’s designer collaboration is the product born of a friendship between a young designer and his muse. In this instance, it is Yves Saint Laurent who dresses a very young and beautiful Catherine Deneuve. She plays a wealthy young housewife who is not able to be intimate with her loving husband, but decides to live out her fantasies by becoming a prostitute (it is, after all, a Buñuel film). This she does only by day, hence the name of the film, ‘Belle de Jour’.
Deneuve’s Severine is by turns aloof and sensual as the film explores the boundaries of morality. Her journey is enhanced by Saint Laurent’s impeccable costumes, classic and timeless, with a twist of fetish.
Her bourgeois lifestyle is evident in the precise tailoring of her clothing, something even her colleagues notice, and covet. Her flawless style, from her hair down to her Roger Vivier Pilgrim pumps, speaks volumes about her character. Accordingly, her hair and clothing change as Severigne becomes Belle. Wool gives way to vinyl, rigorous up do’s give way to soft waves. Saint Laurent takes the transformation in his stride, giving us a collection of trendsetting costumes which have become iconic of 60’s style. The safari dress and the schoolgirl inspired outfit for example, continue to influence fashion designers today. I mean, who would say no to any of Severigne’s amazing coats? Eternally chic, and a testament to Yves Saint Laurent’s genius, Severine will continue to be reinvented in glossy mags, providing inspiration for day, or night.