French costume designer Madeline Fontaine has done some truly amazing work (A Very Long Engagement, Jackie, Yves Saint Laurent) and some so-so (Versailles, Marie Antoinette). Let’s run down her frock flicks resume, with some quotes from the designer about her work when I can find them!
La Neige et le Feu (1991)
Vincent Perez and love during the Liberation of Paris (1944-45).
A Very Long Engagement (2004)
A young woman (Audrey Tatou) searches for her missing fiancé during World War I. Probably one of the best films I’ve seen, costume-wise, for this era.
“For ‘A Very Long Engagement‘ I immersed myself in the 1914-18 era, I collected photos, postcards. I also found clothes that we resized. It’s moving because most of them had already been transformed. At the time, to follow fashion, women had to be very ingenious” (bad Google translate of Cinéma. Le costume fait le personnage).
The Art of Breaking Up (2005)
Despite being in love, a couple decides to find other, rich, lovers in order to finance their lives.
Asterix at the Olympic Games (2008)
I guess someone has to costume these, right?
“I’m inspired by the first Asterix albums, and I’m going to take advantage of my visit here to take a look at the Saint-Raymond museum, where there are very beautiful Gallic jewels” (bad Google translate of Cinéma. Le costume fait le personnage).
A housekeeper is also a painter in small town France, 1912.
18th-century swashbuckling, I think?
The relationship between Simone de Beauvoir and Violette Leduc in postwar France.
A Woman’s Life (2016)
A woman matures in early 19th-century France.
Jackie Kennedy immediately after her husband’s assasination.
“Maintaining a glossy, impregnable front was very important for her. Whatever turmoil she may have felt, however exhausted she may have been, she insisted on being very much the representation of perfection, and she never allowed herself to drop that facade” (Jackie Kennedy: The First Instagram First Lady).
Louis XIV, the palace, his courtiers, and his loves.
“I don’t think we had the mission to be historically perfect. I think we have to take both actors and public into a respectful feeling of a period, to make it believable and true, to use the reality of the body’s constraints which determined a language, adapting it to current physical ways of communicating and habits. The [designer’s] ‘stamp’ is totally dependent of a sensibility, and cultural references, I think it cannot be hidden” (GFY Interview: Madeline Fontaine, Costume Designer for Versailles).
The White Crow (2018)
Ballet dancer Rudolph Nureyev defects to the West.
How to Be a Good Wife (2020)
A woman runs a “housekeeping” school but things get complicated when her husband dies.
The Cursed (2021)
Something supernatural menaces a rural 19th-century French village.
Just before the French Revolution, a chef opens the first restaurant.
Asterix & Obelix: The Middle Kingdom (2023)
Marie Antoinette (2022)
Y’know, Marie Antoinette!
“She was reacting very hard against the cage she found herself in. She expresses herself as someone who wanted to get out of the cage, and you can see it in the costumes” (Dressing Marie Antoinette: costume designers behind the lavish new series share their style secrets).
What’s your favorite of Madeline Fontaine’s frock flick designs?