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Marguerite Duras


Marguerite Duras

Joelle Renee Benoliel

‘The Lover’ (L’Amant), a novel written about a young French girl who has a lurid love affair with a wealthy Chinese man in 1929 French Indochina, is believed to be an autobiographical story about the writer herself, Marguerite Duras. Full of sensational details, each line is written in deeply human, poetic form. With the resurgence of Chinoiserie and Indochine design, we are inspired by the decidedly described outfit worn by the unnamed girl in Duras’ novel.

The girl knows herself and her situation well, even at a young age. This outfit, the ‘threadbare silk dress,’ the leather belt belonging to one of her brothers, the gold high heel shoes, and of course, the man’s fedora, paint a picture of a self-assured woman who wears what makes her feel whole. Though, the outfit also signifies a childlike naïveté that is incognizant of what people might think.  May we all share her freedom to dress in a way that makes us feel good no matter our situation or our audience.

We’re not the only ones moved by this famous look, designers have created whole lines inspired by Duras’ book that reflect the feel of a colonial French Indochina including Marco Zanini for Rochas’ SS 2010 and Maria Bonita Extra SS 2009


Photo credit: Background floral; quote from The Lover; Rochas SS 10 runway; Maria Bonita Extra SS 2009"Fumeurs d’Opium" by French writer and journalist Jules Boissière (1863-1897) Margeurite Duras

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