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Prêt-à-Porter

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Paris Fashion Week draws the usual bunch of people; designers, reporters, models, magazine editors, photographers. Follows the various storylines of these characters, centering around a murder investigation of a prominent fashion figure. Features an all-star cast.

Robert Altman’s two-hour ensemble black comedy satirized the fashion industry through a look at the fashion world of Paris, and combined it with a murder mystery. It told about the lives (and loves) of an assorted group of fashion designers, supermodels, and journalists.

The “seductive comedy” featured dozens of characters, converging storylines (typical of Altman) and cameo appearances (Lauren Bacall, Harry Belafonte, Teri Garr, Forest Whitaker, Naomi Campbell, Lyle Lovett, Christy Turlington, Cher and others). It contained Altman’s characteristic interweaving plot lines of the lives of models, designers (Richard E. Grant), fashion magazine editors (Sally Kellerman, Tracey Ullman, and Linda Hunt), Irish photographer (Stephen Rea), TV reporter (Kim Basinger), and journalists (Tim Robbins, Julia Roberts and Lili Taylor). The widely-despised head of the fashion council was Olivier de la Fontaine (Jean-Pierre Cassel) who was married to Isabella (Sophia Loren) – later he was found dead in his limousine (ruled a homicide although he choked on a ham sandwich) and his cohort Sergei/Sergio (Marcello Mastroianni) was considered a suspect. [Note: Loren and Mastroianni recreated their striptease scene from Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow (1964).]

Its most memorable scene was its eye-popping, two-minute runway show finale during Paris’ week-long, annual “Pret-a-Porter” fashion extravaganza.

It was a sensational, all-nude fashion show put on by beleaguered French designer Simone Lowenthal (Anouk Aimee), the mistress of Olivier. In retaliation against her no-good, rebellious slimy son Jack Lowenthal (Rupert Everett), who engineered a corporate takeover and sold her name to Texan cowboy boot manufacturer Clint Lammeraux (Lyle Lovett), she hosted an all-nude fashion show. When the crowning moment occurred – a pregnant model parading down the runway during the show, the crowd burst into applause, as superficial, flabbergasted American FAD-TV fashion reporter Kitty Potter (Kim Basinger) took a microphone and described how “everything” was exhibited in Simone Lo’s show:

“I mean, I don’t know how much of this is gonna be on TV or anything. But, it’s– it’s– it’s so new. I mean, it’s, uh, it’s so old. I mean, it’s, uh — I mean, she shows it like it really is. [cheering, whistling] It’s, uh, it’s so old, it’s true. It’s so true, it’s new. It’s the oldest new look. It’s the newest old look. It’s — It’s — Simone Lo has created a, a new, new look for every man, woman and child. And they can all afford it. It’s called the ‘bare look.’ So, hooray for Simone Lo. What the hell am I talkin’ about? I mean, wh-wh– For Christ’s sake, wh-wh-what is goin’ on here, really? Can you tell me what’s goin’ on on this planet? Th-this is f–kin’ fruitcake time. I mean, is that fashion? Is it? I mean, is there a message out there? I mean, you got a lot of naked people wanderin’ around here. I mean, I been forever trying to find out what this bulls–t is all about, and you know what? You know what? I have had it. I have had it. Goodbye. Au revoir.”

The sequence featured over one dozen slim models, displayed by both real-life models and actresses, including:

Albertine (German singer Ute Lemper), pregnant
Dane Simpson (Georgianna Robertson), African-American
Eve Salvail (Herself), shaved bald
Kiki Simpson (Tara Leone)
Pilar (Rossy de Palma)

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Genre: (1990-1999), 1994, Bare breasts, Comedy, Drama, Female Nudity, Nudity

Director: Robert Altman

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