In Praise of Catherine Deneuve’s Rainy-Day Style


There’s a new theme every day on It’s Vintage. Read more articles on today’s topic: Yé-Yé Girls.

The next time a rainy spring morning leaves you wanting to curl up and sleep through the rest of the day, look to Catherine Deneuve’s character in The Umbrellas of Cherbourg for your April-showers style playbook. As the 1964 film’s title suggests, the central characters spend a lot of time in the rain, in what is clearly director Jacques Demy’s tribute to Singin’ in the Rain. Deneuve’s classic trench, pert hair bow, and colorful umbrella make a downpour look positively inviting.

While another Deneuve vehicle, Belle du Jour, boasts more high-fashion cred, thanks to her character’s YSL-clad, Roger Vivier–shod bona fides, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg has plenty to recommend it style-wise. Deneuve’s character, Geneviève, has a sweeter take on yé-yé girl style: scallop-edged coats, pert macaron-hued cardigans, pastel shifts, and those bows. Demy asked costume designer Jacqueline Moreau to match many of the outfits to the set’s equally bright wallpaper for a saturated, ‘50s Technicolor feeling.

The film has gone on to influence many a fashion collection, and served as the inspiration for Björk’s “It’s Oh So Quiet” video. Last year, designer Vanessa Seward, formerly of Azzaro, lent her hand to costumes for a stage version. Could a full-scale Hollywood remake be far behind?

In Praise of Catherine Deneuve’s Rainy-Day Style