New Wave Pixie Haircut

The 1960 French New Wave classic Breathless may be the movie Jean Seberg and her New Wave Pixie Cut are best remembered for, however she sported the cut in the three movies she made before Breathless — the first three movies of her career. 

It was in 1957 that her iconic haircut was first seen on screen in the historical drama Saint Joan. Seberg was chosen for the film from a talent search that included over 18,000 women, and saw Seberg given the part with no previous acting experience. Unsurprisingly the film was panned by the critics and Seberg later said of the movie:

“I am the greatest example of a very real fact, that all the publicity in the world will not make you a movie star if you are not also an actress. I have two memories of Saint Joan. The first was being burned at the stake in the picture. The second was being burned at the stake by the critics. The latter hurt more. I was scared like a rabbit and it showed on the screen. It was not a good experience at all. I started where most actresses end up.”

But where her acting left much to be desired, her pixie haircut caused a sensation. In 1957 the short pixie cut, that emphasised the delicate beauty of Seberg’s features, was rare, but by the time Breathless was released in 1960 Seberg’s pixie cut was at the cutting edge of fashion, and Seberg herself was being hailed as “the best actress in Europe”.

Alongside Jean Seberg in Breatless was Jean-Paul Belmondo  — “the French actor spent almost an entire film with a Gauloise dangling from his lips”, need we say more. Jean-Paul Belmondo died this week, Septmerber 6th 2021, at the age of 88, rest in peace.

If you haven’t seen Breathless then what are you waiting for, consistently voted as one of the greatest films of all time, it’s a film that still exudes French cool.


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