The “J’aime bien parler le francaise” Dress
I have to admit that the Academy Awards challenge is my favorite so far this year. I happen to be a big fan of ye olde classic movies. Initially I had some rather lofty ambitions – like that stripey number that Nora wears in the Thin Man or a sultry slip of Maggie the Cat. I thought about channelling Clara Bow in Wings or sporting over-sized men’s PJ’s like Claudette Colbert in It Happened One Night.
I wanted something iconic, but in more subtle kind of way. I narrowed down my list of favorite films to those with my favorite costume design. One image sort of stuck. Think color. Think rain. Think music. Now think it all in french.
The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (Les Parapluies de Cherbourg) is the sadly romantic tale of young love. Set in a coastal town of Cherbourg, teen-aged Genevieve (Catherine Deneuve) falls in love with Guy just before he is shipped off to the war in Algeria. Not even working in an umbrella boutique or wearing the most amazing technicolor dresses can brighten life for pauvre Genevieve. The film is beautifully moving even without dialogue, because (surprise!) it’s a musical. I heart wrenching musical. Oh, you’ll cry.
Although slightly obsessive, my love for gingham dresses is not at all unrequited and not nearly as sad, thankfully. Now I have two – this one for breezy summer days and another for fancier occasions. So really, this particular challenge has fed multiple obsessions for me. No complaints on my end.
The Umbrellas of Cherbourg was not a big winner in 1965, but was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film, Best Song, Best Original Score, Best Scoring, and Best Screenplay Written Directly for Screen. If you haven’t seen it, I suggest you do. If for nothing else, do it for the dresses.
- Fabric: Blue and white cotton gingham.
- Pattern: Simplicity 2444. I am kind of loving the bodice. I might revisit this pattern later with a stiffer fabric.
- Year: 2010
- Notions: Zipper and thread. I might have used some lace as hem tape for a fun surprise.
- Time to complete: Maybe 4 hours. Although techinically, the dress is still not done. I only remembered that I had not quite finished hand sewing the lining to the back zipper and that the dress had a few pins in it when I was mid-photo taking. Silly me. That’s what happens when you put a project aside for a little while.
- First worn: Photos. I am waiting for summer.
- Wear again? Yes please. I love gingham. (sigh)
- Total price: gingham – $9. Everything else was in my stash.