Of all the topics that continue to fascinate fashion-obsessed women, the most enduring always come back to the French. What is that thing that French women have? How do they look constantly, effortlessly chic? What are their secrets? The obsession with Parisienne style continues to spawn books, YouTube series, podcasts and dedicated Instagram accounts (the latest @parisiensinparis, is a personal favourite). But if you’re looking for secrets to mastering the art of French dressing, all the answers you need reside in 67-year-old cinematic icon Isabelle Huppert.
Yesterday, Huppert took to the red carpet at the Rome Film Festival for her upcoming film, Le Discours (which translates to ‘The Speech’), wearing a velvet black suit, white shirt and black pumps. The outfit was simple, beautifully tailored and, above all, familiar. Those well-acquainted with Huppert’s style will have seen her in similar iterations multiple times. In fact, for the last 20 years, black suits have been the bread and butter of Huppert’s red carpet wardrobe. Since the early Noughties, she’s opted for evening suits over dresses time and time again.
Usually paired with a fresh face and simple hair, Huppert’s red carpet appearances perfectly embody the je ne sais quoi that non-French women continue to fawn over. What’s the secret? Consistency and nonchalance. Huppert’s decades-long commitment to ‘outfit repeating’ speaks to the delicious paradox at the root of good style: You have to care, but you can’t care too much.
Her clothes are always designer (usually Armani, occasionally Chanel) and always fit her like a dream, but she wears them with the indifference of a person who just threw any old thing on, oblivious to whether she’s doing the school run or walking the red carpet at Cannes. French women seem to innately know what most women take decades to realise—style is rarely about the clothes themselves, it’s about the attitude of the person wearing them. Attention to detail, self-awareness of what suits your own body and an appreciation for craftsmanship are simply accoutrements.