Costumes Designed by Coco Chanel Are Hitting the Screen at TIFF This Summer


Last Year at Marienbad will screen on July 27th and August 11th at the TIFF Bell Lightbox.

When one thinks of Coco Chanel, the first thing that comes to mind is likely a string of pearls, or a “little black dress.” But in addition to being one of the most influential fashion designers of the 20thcentury, she was also an accomplished costume designer. Chanel designed loose-fitting costumes for the Ballet Russes and the flapper-inspired costumes for Alain Resnais’ 1961 film Last Year at Marienbad, which is playing at the TIFF Bell Lightbox later this summer.

Last Year at Marienbad tells the story of a man trying to convince a woman of a previous relationship they shared; an affair that the woman doesn’t seem to remember. Its mysterious narrative disrupts the traditional cinematic chronological constraints to make way for an avant-garde blend between reality and fiction. It is considered one of the most important works to emerge from the French New Wave movement and was awarded the Golden Lion — the highest honour a film can receive — at the Venice Film Festival in 1961.

Chanel’s timeless elegance meshed perfectly with the mood of the film and the costumes play a substantial role in the movie, dropping hints about the story’s chronology.  The black chiffon dress worn by Delphine Seyrig even became known as the “dress à la Marienbad.”

Last year, Chanel supported a restoration of the film, which premiered at last year’s Venice Film Festival.

Toronto-based cinephiles can rejoice because the film will be playing as part of a summer-long Alain Resnais retrospective at TIFF.  Last Night at Marienbad has two screenings as part of Time After Time: The Films of Alain Resnais, on July 27th and August 11th. Click here for more details.

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