Films and Fashion

Potiche or Trophy Wife. Just saw the French film and enjoyed it. It is set in 1977 and has iconic stars or should I say legends such as Catherine Deneuve and Gerard Depardieu.

I like watching foreign films as it gives me an insight to the culture, food, fashion, lifestyle of a country without actually going there. Of course, if I have a choice between visiting a foreign country versus sitting in a dark theater, munching on extra-calorie pop-corn and living life vicariously via celluloid, I will definitely opt for the former.

Like I said earlier the film is set in 1977 and although a light hearted comedy portrays a sort of “coming out” of women, an emancipation if you will. It explores serious cultural issues such as embarkation of women’s journey in the corporate work place, sexual liberation of women, women in politics-strong women yet retaining their femininity.

Being a fashion fiend, I was particularly impressed by the clothes worn by the actors. They were stylish, strong and sexy while still maintaining a sense of elegance and dignity. The outfits resonated the sentiment of the era. Liberation of women without sacrificing seductive style. Women have tread a thin line when it comes to fashion, particularly working women. As a practicing attorney and a full participant of the corporate world I subject myself to the daily dilemma of presenting a no-nonsense corporate image; an image of trust and reliability; an image not so distracting that my words are not heard but without sacrificing style and staying true to my gender.

The movie was forthcoming in such a context. The outfits were form-fitted, accentuating the curves of the female body, yet maintained a virtuous decorum (wow that is one word seldom used in the context of modern fashion.)

For example a form fitted skirt was paired with a chiffon blouse tied at the collar with long sleeves; a mid-length skirt was seen worn with a thin fitted shirt, buttons open at the collar, thereby exposing the nape of the neck and leaving certain things to the imagination of the viewer. Such small measures of seductivity and provocation are so much more titillating than leaving nothing to the imagination.

As fashion is circular, I have seen designers take cue from the past this year. Dresses continue to have the fun and the flirtatious element but some designers have juxtaposed tasteful accents. Gucci’s Fall/Winter 2011 selection is an example. Frida Giannini has a bow tie collar dress with full-length sleeves constructed in mounds of ravishing flowy fabrics. She has models wearing a silk tie scarf with an elegant cashmere fur-collar coat. Such outfits are demure yet suggestive.

So, the mantra to be repeated is “yes, you can assert your intellect, femininity and style without being a Potiche-Trophy Wife.”