Thursday, August 1, 2013


Posted by Bethan Holt, Junior Fashion Editor at Large

This hasn't really been such a spectacular year for fashion and film so far. Yes, there was The Great Gatsby, but we were all mostly sick of flapper dresses and feathers by the time it was finally released. Then there was Spring Breakers which admittedly landed a collaboration with Opening Ceremony but mostly gave out a super skimpy fluoro bikini kind of message. And then The Bling Ring, for which we only have to look to Emma Watson's transformative GQ cover. Basically, it's been a while since we've had a properly stylish film to get into.
Frances in leggings (via
Thankfully, Frances Ha has been released in the nick of time. I saw it the other night and one of the many brilliant things about it is that it really reiterates the importance of costume (or, just plain old clothes) in the creation of character. It needn't be blatant but so many aspects of Frances's "look" add nuance to what's going on in the plot. There are simple things, like the way she is very often wearing leggings under vintage floral dresses. She's a dancer, so obviously she spends a lot of her time in leggings. But it points to her slightly haphazard approach that she'd just pull on a dress over the top. In that annoying way that sometimes happens for reasons which are hard to explain, you might suddenly find yourself considering wearing leggings with a dress again, even though you haven't for years. And probably won't but maybe you'll try something else you hadn't considered before?

Frances plus coat and rucksack (via
Like all of us, Frances (played by Greta Gerwig) has a favourite coat. Hers is a sheepskin lined black aviator jacket which she snuggles up in as she trudges along not knowing what to do with her life, but also skips about in when she's in more carefree mode. Obviously, she only has one coat because when you're broke that's all you can afford and constant sightings of the same items make you remember this. Frances clearly loves her coat too which is always important. Maybe that struck a chord because it's more usual to see constant costume changes, even in things which are supposed to project reality. For the 1.5hours of the film, Frances' coat and rucksack became almost as familiar as my best friend's favourite brogues.

On a simpler level, Frances wears some great polo neck jumpers when she's back at her parents in Sacramento for Christmas. Her friend Sophie seems to delicately tread the spectacle line between Corrie's Deidre and intellectual chic so that one scene you are hoping she'll go to the opticians and the next you're wondering which opticians? Frances Ha doesn't scream "FASHION!" but it makes you think about how much style is a huge and fun part of self-expression

Sophie's glasses (via
I know that Frances Ha has been compared to Girls, a lot. Gerwig and her boyfriend Noah Baumbach, who directed the film, are good friends of Lena Denham. Girls has been compared to SATC and one of the biggest things we learnt, fashion wise, from SATC was about mixing it up. The way Carrie would wear ghetto gold earrings with a sweatshirt or condoned twirling 20 strands of pearls round your neck rather than just 2. I love Girls but I never felt I got a lot from it fashion wise. Frances Ha, meanwhile, has inspired me again- as Carrie did a long time ago- to try mixing it up a bit.

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