Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Gainsbourg: Unlikely Style Inspiration

The very mention of Serge Gainsbourg conjures up images of a true French style icon. The swirls of smoke, the conveyor belt of beautiful women, the double-breasted jackets worn with well tailored shirts unbuttoned, the white Repetto jazz shoes or the black cuban heels, the Breitling Navitimer watch and the seemingly ever present stubble. Yes, Gainsbourg's suits and jackets were impeccably tailored, his shirts always fit just right, but it was his attitude that really defined his style. Over his exciting, inspiring and controversial career he showed that one can always wear great clothes, but superior style comes from within. So, it was with some sartorial excitement that I sat down in front of a screening of Joann Sfar's movie portrait, Gainsbourg (Vie Heroique) earlier this week. Even though the film might have lacked a coherent narrative at times, I enjoyed Eric Elmosnino's performance (an actor with an eerie resemblance to the man himself) and often found myself wishing that I would catch a glimpse of Mr Hare's Godard shoe in one of the shots...




However inspiring these style snapshots were it was during the earlier moments of the film that really left the greatest style impression on me. Sfar, who based the film on his graphic novel, boldly sites Gainsbourg's musical career in its political context and unapologetically positions his leading character's talent and complex personality in relationship to his Judaism and French antisemitism. Gainsbourg's Jewish identity is a source of tension throughout the film but it is during a look at the young musician that it is at its most significant. Our hero during his boyhood is played superbly by Kacey Mottet Klein. We see young Lucien startled by an antisemitic cartoon poster, and realising that this crude daub is supposed to refer to him and his kind. It is during these moments and his early demonstrations of rebellion that offer a more interesting style proposition...




Rather than instilling a desire to attempt a roll neck and a double breasted pinstripe jacket, in homage to one of Gainsbourg's most iconic look, Sfar's biopic left me contemplating the idea of well tailored outerwear teamed with shorts, long socks and boots. I expected to fall for the Gallic charms of Serge but found a great deal more sartorial intrigue around Lucien. Unlikely style inspiration indeed.

3 comments:

joy said...

I hope this movie makes it to the states in some form or another. It looks gorgeous. I hope the incoherent plot line won't sway me. And I agree, that kid has style.

JD
iplayfaves.blogspot.com

Syed (dapper kid) said...

I shall definitely have to check it out. I remember watching Équateur rather long ago, it was actually my first introduction to Gainsbourg.

snappy said...

There is something magical about the era and it's style, which clearly has left an impression on fashion even today. I will have to look for the film, seems inspiring in the most unlikely way. Very snappy.
snappy x
www.snappylifestyle.blogspot.com

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