The French New Wave is known for its radical experimentation with visual and narrative filming techniques, all while making bold fashion moments. The movement started in the late 1950s and 1960s, shifting focus away from conservative period pieces and towards the concerns of the working class, like the social and political upheavals of the era. And while the films featured the simple street styles of the time, the characters often embodied a certain je ne sais quoi that made the accessible yet stylish looks feel so iconic. The movement’s most prominent pioneers include Jean-Luc Godard, who, at the age of 84, is still finding ways to introduce new techniques to the formal innovations of film. So in celebration of Godard’s experimental 3D drama Adieu au langage (2014), we’re taking a look back at some of the most timeless looks from his New Wave classics.

Anna Karina, the poster girl of the French New Wave (and Godard’s ex-wife) also starred in his technicolor Pierrot Le Fou and Made In USA, but right now, we’re vibing her styling in Godard’s black and white films. Bande à part’s iconic “Madison dance” scene, performed to soul music composed for the film by Michel Legrand, features Anna Karina in her girly French best—dark, oversized sweater, plaid skirt, men’s hat, and black high socks. We can’t forget the large, tweed coat she wears in her turn as tragic actress turned prostitute in Vivre sa vie either, mostly because it makes us want to grab a Black Leather Overnight $575 to embark on our own tale of New Wave fatalism.

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Anna Karina may be the quintessential face of the French New Wave, but Brigitte Bardot holds the throne on the other end of French allure. In Le Mépris, Bardot works the classic Breton stripe with a demure cardigan, but the teased blonde hair and thick headband immortalizes her look. As for the men, Jean-Paul Belmondo embodied a don’t-give-a-damn effortlessness, when he’s accessorizing his slim cut trousers with fedoras or his ever-present cigarette in the mouth. It’s the kind rouge sophistication that calls for a Black Leather Briefcase $505. 

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So whether you’re channeling French gamine Anna Karina or iconoclastic bombshell Brigitte Bardot, don’t forget that extra bit of je ne sais quoi.

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