Friday, April 24, 2009

How to be like Patrica Franchini from "À bout de souffle"

I've always thought that Jean Seberg had incredible style. It gave me faith that a simple Midwestern girl could dress so easily and beautifully Parisian. Seberg's role as Patricia Franchini in Jean-Luc Godards's 1959 French Wave film "À bout de souffle" (named last week by TCM one of the 15 most influential films of all time) encapsulates the chic style she is remembered for. Like the real-life Seberg, Patricia was an American expat living in Paris. But because Patricia's end is far less tragis than Jean's, I've come up with a list of everything one would need to wear, say, live, and do to be like Godard's heroine.
Patricia's Wardrobe:
  • The New York Herald Tribune shirt – I purchased mine from Neighborhoodies. I suggest the Girls Communitee style in white (natch…), as it is closest to the type that Jean wore
  • Black Capri pants
  • A striped circle dress with a rounded collar, big buttons, and matching belt at the waist
  • White cashmere cardigan
  • Wool pencil dress, nipped at the waist, button down front and two large pockets on the chest
  • Your man’s large button down shirt
  • Black and white (horizontal) striped boatneck sweater
  • Black and grey (vertical) striped shirt with no sleeves
  • White twill shorts
  • Black pleated skirt (ending at your knees)
Patricia: What is your greatest ambition in life?
Parvulesco: To become immortal…and then die.

Patricia's Accessories:
  • Black oblong retro sunglasses
  • Small white purse
  • Flat black loafers
  • Black ballet slippers
  • A small silver watch (worn on the left wrist)
  • Fedora (borrowed from your man)
  • Copies of the New York Herald Tribune
  • White high heels
  • A teddy bear with a white bow
  • Prints from Renior, Picasso, and Paul Klee
Patricia: Why do you want to make love to me?
Michel: Because you’re beautiful.
Patricia: But I’m not beautiful.
Michel: Okay, then because you’re ugly.
Her Pastimes:
  • Aspiring to be a journalist
  • Selling the “New York Herald Tribune” on the Champs-Elysées
  • Harboring fugitives
  • Quoting Faulkner, Thomas, and Rilke
Patricia: Do you know William Faulkner?
Michel: No. Who’s he? Have you slept with him?


  • handsome young French thugs who think they're Humphrey Bogart
  • police men and detectives
  • sidewalk cafés
  • her apartment
  • the cinema (where she sneaks into the screening of Whirpool)
  • the Champs-Elysées
Pearls of Wisdom:
  • It’s sad to fall asleep. It separates people. Even when you’re sleeping together, you’re all alone.
  • I don’t know if I’m unhappy because I’m not free, or if I’m not free because I’m unhappy.
  • Are you afraid of getting old? I am.
  • Between grief and nothing, I will take grief.
  • We look at each other in the eye, and it’s no use.
  • I’d like to think about something, and I can’t.
Check out Vogue’s old editorial featuring Christy Turlington as Patricia, and look at Mia Kirshner’s reimagining of Patricia on “The L Word” for some modern-day inspirations of Patricia

1 comment:

Celice said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I actually got around to watching A Bout De Souffle two days ago. I've reviewed it since. Ahhhh I love this film! I'm now in the process of discovering more Jean-Luc Godard/Nouvelle Vague films. Last night: Pierrot Le Fou. Oh my. Have you seen this one? It is on youtube in parts. The stars are Jean-Paul Belmondo (A Bout De Souffle) and Anna Karina. My favorite part was the Vietnam play. :-)