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An Ode to Agnès Varda’s Radical Style

Agnès Varda in her younger years. Photo: Jacques Haillot/Sygma via Getty Images

When Agnès Varda arrived at the Oscars last year wearing a full Gucci silk pajama set, she proved that the much-hyped Italian brand isn’t just for millennials. In fact, given her bold, gleefully eccentric style, she could’ve been its ambassador.

The feminist French director, who was 89 at the time, wore the Gucci look with a level of swagger and confidence that her younger peers could only aspire to, landing her a place at the top of our best-dressed list — and in our hearts.

Agnès Varda wearing Gucci at the 2018 Oscars. Photo: Steve Granitz/WireImage/Getty Images

Varda, who has been working in film since the 1950s, died on Thursday as the result of complications from cancer. She was 90. Her last film, Faces Places, was a documentary that she directed with the French photographer JR. It was nominated for Best Documentary Feature at the 2018 Oscars, making Varda the oldest person to be nominated for a non-honorary Academy Award. She was also the first female director to be awarded an honorary Oscar and an honorary Palme d’Or.

The world knows Varda for directing films like Cleo From 5 to 7, Le Bonheur, and The Creatures. But her style is worthy of celebration, too. It was an extension of her radical personality, boundless creativity, and joie de vivre.

Agnès Varda held up her cape with a statement pin at Cannes in 2004. Photo: Boris Harvat/AFP/Getty Images

When Varda wasn’t wearing Gucci pajamas, she loved a good print and a strong color, particularly purple, and would oftentimes combine the two.

Agnès Varda wearing polka-dots in 2018. Photo: Jeff Spicer/Getty Images
Agnès Varda at the 9th Annual Governors Awards in 2017. Photo: Steve Granitz/WireImage

She wore her hair in a dark purple bowl-cut with a silver crown. For accessories, she preferred round, tinted sunglasses and sneakers.

Agnès Varda at the 65th San Sebastian Film Festival in 2017. Photo: Juan Naharro Gimenez/WireImage

She also loved colorful scarves and statement necklaces, which she also liked to wear together.

Agnès Varda at the Berlin film festival in 2019. Photo: Tobias Schwarz/AFP/Getty Images

Varda always looked comfortable but never sloppy. At the Indie Spirit awards, for example, the internet took notice of her incredible purple tracksuit, which gave Armie Hammer a run for his money. It had bedazzled piping which matched her silver shoes.

Agnès Varda at the Indie Spirit Awards in 2018. Photo: Amanda Edwards/Getty Images

Varda had no shame about repeating outfits — she seemed more interested in showing off her handbags and scarves, which she would often hold over her head or out in front of her. She knew how to move in her clothes and bring her accessories to life. Her red-carpet poses were part shrug, part bow, and part jazz hands.

Agnès Varda at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival. Photo: Ian Gavan/Getty Images
Agnès Varda at the 2009 Caesars French film awards. Photo: PATRICK KOVARIK/AFP/Getty Images

Style icons like Tilda Swinton actually did bow in Varda’s presence.

Agnes Varda and actress Tilda Swinton at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival. Photo: Dominique Charriau/WireImage

And even when Varda was not physically present on the red carpet, she could still be one of the best-dressed attendees at any event. Her partner-in-crime, JR, was known to tote a life-size cardboard cutout of her as his date.

JR carrying an Agnes Varda cutout to the 2018 Oscars nominee luncheon. Photo: Steve Granitz/Getty Images

Varda, you will be missed.

RIP Agnès Varda, Queen of Having Fun on the Red Carpet