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Fashion Film Fun: Frantic

Who wouldn't want to trade suitcases with Michelle (Emmanuelle Seigner) of Frantic (1988)? She was the absolute epitome of cool french-girl style that was idolized and coveted in the late 80's. This stylish thriller was directed by Roman Polanski and stars Emmanuelle Seigner as Michelle, and Harrison Ford as the lead character, Dr. Richard Walker. Although the plot may be considered a bit simple by today's standards, it is a solid thriller set in 80's Paris and fun to watch, but what is most memorable for me about the film is the enviable wardrobe of Michelle.

rooftop scene in thriller film Frantic


Plot: The main character, Richard, a straight-laced and all around decent guy, gets embroiled in an international intrigue after his wife's suitcase and Michelle's are mixed up at the airport on their arrival to Paris. What is supposed to a business trip to Paris and a romantic getaway with his wife, quickly turns into a harrowing experience for everyone involved. Richard who does not speak a word of French, takes matters into his own hands after getting little to no help from either the French police or American embassy. He has to navigate a shady Parisian underworld and unravel the mystery with the help of a questionably loyal Michelle. All in all the film is interesting and Harrison does a great job keeping viewers engaged in the plot.


Style: The backdrop of Paris' nightclubs, scenes shot along the Siene, and wonderful images of neighborhood streets all lend a lot to the atmosphere of the movie. Paris comes across as slick and gritty at the same time and it is a great foil for the plot. Richards' character is very conservative and is always seen in a suit or tweed jacket - the exception is a nearly nude scene where Ford sports only a teddy bear! There are some interesting glimpses at upscale stylish Parisians in various background shots of the Grand Hotel and in Cafes, as well as some noteworthy styling of more mature conservative women. Richard's wife, Sondra (Betty Buckley), sports an iconic haircut for women of her age and also has some impressive shoulder pads and stylish scarves.

Really, though, in the wardrobe department, it is all Seigner's film. Even though her costumes are not so numerous, they make a big impression. The first scene where Richard encounters her, she is wearing a loose fitting jeans, a low cut T, the black leather biker jacket that reappears throughout the film, and of course, piles of accessories. The outfit easily mirrors Madonna's style back in the day. If you have not seen our post covering Desperately Seeking Susan, take a peek and compare the two leading ladies. Where Madonna's Susan pulls off an eclectic and grungy NYC tough girl, Seigner's Michelle is equally gritty, but with a decidedly French-girl spin. Michelle's body-hugging red dress worn first in the supper club scene with Richard is short and tight, but it is the eye stopping lace up back that really makes an impression. I searched in vain for a great image of this, but did not find a good clear shot. It is definitely worth looking out for when you watch the film; the proportions are just right. The accessories are bold and plentiful, and you can see many instances of the exaggerated statement earring that have made such a strong comeback lately. The leather backpack she carries is de rigueur for that time, as are the studded belts and other silver accessories and embellishments. Quirky pins are used in haphazard placements and even pinned into her leather jacket's shoulders. One of the most striking garments is the black leather biker jacket dress - very short, very snug, very sexy. Styles like this are also trending as the zip front leather mini is looking very current right now. All this sexy 80's slickness is further amplified by the voice of the iconic Grace Jones, who weighs in heavily on the soundtrack. Her song, “Strange” is the dominant track in the film and is the perfect accompaniment to Michelle's sultry style.

click through the slideshow below to see some of Michelle's iconic style:


Can't get enough of edgy 80's styling?

Take a peek at our inspo boards on Pinterest for 80's 90's Throwback style , from early hip hop to edgy punk references this era is continuing to influence current trends. Leaving you with some images from our boards below to get you in the mood...

sources: pinterest| cineplex | imdb | mrRareBlog

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