Anna Karina was the icon of the French New Wave, and has a ‘60s cool-girl look worth replicating.
For those of you who don’t know, Anna Karina was a Danish-French film star, as well as a singer. The French ingénue was the muse of French film director Jean-Luc Godard. The two married while she was still very young and had a rocky relationship, largely because Godard traveled so much without telling Karina where he was going. Their marriage ended in divorce in 1965, however, Karina still spoke of him fondly towards the end of her life.
They ended up together after working together on La Petit Soldat, a film that was actually banned in France at the time because of its coverage of the Algerian War. They arrived in Paris together, and when he asked her, “So, where do you go now? Where do I take you?”, she said to him, “You can’t take me nowhere; I have to stay with you! I have nowhere to go anymore!” [sic]. They were married a few months later.
She was the star in all the movies that redefined French cinema from A Woman Is a Woman, to My Life to Live, to Band of Outsiders, to Pierrot le Fou. When asked about whether they all realized at the time what great impact these movies would have on cinema and history, she said, “No, we didn’t think about that at all. We were just happy to do a movie with Jean-Luc Godard, like always. No script, like always. The dialogue at the last minute, just before shooting.”
The movies as well as Anna Karina’s look still remain in vogue today, despite being conceptualized decades ago. Karina thinks this is because “nothing is old-fashioned, even the clothes and all of that, it looks just like today. It’s very of the now.” So let’s talk about exactly how to get that look of hers!
One element of style that’s very true of Karina but also of the ‘60s, in general, is the ever-popular detailed collar. It’s something that really elevates the femininity of the garment and also makes it less casual. It’s very much in contrast to the t-shirts that were also first becoming popular in the 1960s.
One thing that you’ll notice when you look at photos of Karina that aren’t in black and white is that she’s very often in primary colors like red or navy blue. The bold colors are reminiscent of the mod influence in the ‘60s, but also of school uniforms which helps to give her that cute ingénue look.
Just like the detailing she often had on her collar, Karina was also a fan of ruffles and subtle details that would add to her feminine allure. Women often shy away from ruffles for fear that they will come across as girly, but Karina proves that they can read as being very womanly and mature.
Much of Karina’s wardrobe was very classic, which is the reason why it still works today. And stripes were one element really present throughout her various outfits. They’re still in today, as they always are, and they’re the perfect addition to any woman’s wardrobe!
Add a Hat
One of Karina’s most worn items, you ask? Hats! She adored them and was seen in them from her young days in film all the way through her older years. And we aren’t talking about a baseball cap or a straw hat. For the Anna Karina look, you’ll want a structured hat, in lighter and darker colors to mix and match with various outfits.
The Perfect Dress
Anna Karina knew the power of the perfect dress. As does any woman who's ever worn a dress that made her feel amazing! For the Anna Karina look, you’ll want to find dresses that have a waist emphasis (especially if there’s a feminine detail like a bow or a belt added there), but that flare out at the bottom to create that A-line silhouette that’s super flattering on all body types.
The Must-Have Trench Coat
If you’re going to adopt the French girl look, you’re going to have to stock up on the perfect trench coat. (Trench and French even rhyme. That’s saying something!) J.Crew makes a really beautiful one that’s great quality, and not at the designer pricing of something like Burberry (as beautiful as their coat is).
Honestly, when didn’t Karina wear a cute hair accessory? Her favorites were bows. These are so key to that ingénue look! Get a nice ‘60s style crop with a bit of teasing, and you’ll be set.
And you can’t talk about Anna Karina without talking about the makeup that was so distinctively 1960s. If you really like the look, I recommend following the 1960s Twiggy tutorial that Mary Greenwell, who used to do Princess Diana’s makeup, did for Get The Gloss. She’s an amazing teacher and has a very approachable attitude towards makeup that could help anybody to master the look.
Anna Karina was the original ingénue French girl and had the whole effortless chic, mysterious thing down. I’m definitely going to be stealing a few of her tricks for myself. Because at the end of the day, who doesn’t want to look like a 1960s French girl? Now if only I could speak French as beautifully as she did…maybe someday, right?
If you’re a fan of 1960s style, check out these other articles for more inspiration: