In 1960 Jean Seberg starred in her 3rd film Breathless opposite Jean Paul Belmondo, set in Paris. The figure Seberg cut strolling down the Champs Elysees in that iconic sweater made style news around the globe. Just to watch that movie, and then look at stills of the same period, we see what she was doing was totally new.
The film does not credit any costume designer for the wardrobes and it is very likely that both Seberg and Belmondo made their own sartorial choices, or even wore their own clothes on set.
Though Seberg was American she was the original French gamine, the actress who inspired a million pixie cuts. Her short blonde hair, ravishing smile and simple clothes just inspired and wowed women who were still setting their hair and wearing very constrained clothes with hats and white gloves.
Seberg made 37 films and sadly died at only 40 but her style and the items that she wore, on and off screen, are effortless, natural and carefree. They have all the classic elements I write about here, month by month, such as striped tops, simple dresses, often shirt waisters with fuller skirts, slim black trousers, loafers and trench coats. Love her trilby hat borrowed from Belmondo. She also wears a boyfriend pinstriped shirt and a chunky, cuddly sweater.
Then there are also the gorgeous sunglasses, the little white purse, the black and white Capri pants worn with the sleeveless top, flat black ballet pumps, the iconic haircut perfectly faming her beautiful face, everything key to great style. Her nonchalant look was instantly copied world-wide by girls and then their mothers. She was the icon who was on the cusp of the change in women’s style and who influenced all the great 60s girls that came after, from Francoise Hardy to Twiggy. I urge you to Google her and be amazed, and next time you watch Call the Midwife remember that that is set only 5 years previously and just seems part of a past that is too far away to even understand. But Seberg’s style is part of our fashion mix, sensibility and inspiration today.