Jean Luc Godard’s Breathless (A bout de souffle) helped bring the Nouvelle Vague (French New Wave) onto the international radar, and Jean Seberg’s iconic style in the film has been informing waifs for generations. At once devil-may-care and effortlessly poised, Sebert’s bleached pixie cut, cropped skinny jeans, Trib tee, and patent flats defined chic then and now. Throw in stripey sailor shirts and tailored, belted dresses, and you have a timeless look that continues to inform style as much as the film itself still informs cinema.
The entire aesthetic of the Nouvelle Vague is a celebration of independent thinking and style, with a vintage influence. It surges with creativity, sex, and intrigue, and Breathless is no exception. Jean Seberg and Jean Paul Belmondo hole up in her apartment while he hides from the law, smoking and gazing at each other with bedroom eyes from beneath fedoras. The idea of The Outlaw-whether literally from the law, or from regular society, permeates the aesthetic. The idea that your art, your youth, your style, elevates you to a world apart, creates some of the glamour and intrigue inherent in Nouvelle Vague. The simple uniform Seberg wears presents a pared down sexiness that makes style seem entirely effortless and eternally modern.