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Barbarella’s wardrobe: Exploring Jacques Fonteray’s intergalactic runway

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Roger Vadim’s Barbarella (1968) looms large in popular culture. Disguised under its sartorial splendour, the film’s narrative clearly negotiates social anxieties of the late 1960s. Similarly, the production design of the film incorporates contemporary elements from art, architecture and fashion. Arguably, these elements of style have played a key role in catapulting the film to its cult status. Franco-Spanish designer Paco Rabanne is frequently, albeit erroneously, credited for the creation of Jane Fonda’s on-screen parade of highly stylized costumes in the film. In fact, the man responsible for creating fashion in the diegetic year 40,000 was French costume designer Jacques Fonteray. Rabanne’s involvement in the film was limited to the creation of one costume. Based on archival research conducted in France and the United States of America, this article explores the role of Jacques Fonteray in the creation of the film’s costumes while simultaneously debunking the popular misconception regarding Paco Rabanne’s influence on the film’s overall aesthetics.
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Keywords: Barbarella; Jacques Fonteray; Paco Rabanne; costume design; fashion; space age

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Stockholm University

Publication date: 01 December 2016

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  • Film, Fashion & Consumption is a peer-reviewed journal designed to provide an arena for the discussion of research, methods and practice within and between the fields of film, fashion, design, history, art history and heritage. The journal seeks to stimulate ongoing research on these topics and to attract contributions not only from scholars researching in these areas but also from practitioners, who are traditionally excluded from academic debate. The journal thus aims to unite and enlarge a community of researchers and practitioners in film, fashion, consumption and related fields, whilst also introducing a wider audience to new work, particularly to interdisciplinary research which looks at the intersections between film, fashion and consumption.
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