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French, But Not So Chic

Michel Gondry keeps his wardrobe -- and that of his latest film -- simple. Why think too much about style?

January 27, 2008|Monica Corcoran | Times Staff Writer

PARK CITY, UTAH — Michel GONDRY, the director and Oscar-winning screenwriter, is known for his trippy visual style and vivid imagery. But the man behind "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" doesn't favor fashion as a form of self-expression. In fact, he hates it. Still, Gondry -- in town for the premiere of his film "Be Kind Rewind," which stars Jack Black and Mos Def -- sat down and bemusedly chatted about style over a cup of hot tea.

Why don't you like fashion? You're French.

It makes you feel embarrassed about what you wear. I was watching a documentary on Duran Duran, and after five minutes, I had to turn it off. I couldn't bear to see how they were dressed. I was thinking that the '80s were so horrible.

Don't you have any fashion faux pas in your past?

In 1977, I probably looked a lot like a hippie. I had long hair and wore purple pants.

How would you describe your personal style?

I wear all the same clothes since I was born. I wear plaid and corduroy and shoes for old men. I like soft shoes. I hate pointy shoes that say, 'I am arty and rock 'n' roll.'

How did you direct your costume designers -- Rahel Afiley and Kishu Chand -- to come up with a wardrobe for your new film?

For "Be Kind Rewind," I told the stylists that they had to buy all the clothes in Passaic, N.J., at thrift stores or stores where everything costs five bucks.

Why?

When I work with a stylist on a film, I always ask the person to go in the street and take pictures of everybody. I am surprised that all stylists don't do that. They always bring you magazines to show you what people should wear.

That's not reality.

Do you shop at thrift stores?

No. I rarely shop at all. My size has not changed, and so I don't know why I should buy new clothes.

In "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," Kate Winslet's hair color changes constantly. What does that say about a woman?

For that character, it says that she is not completely at ease with herself. She does it for provocation too. My son -- he is 16 -- did it to his hair a few months ago and he has a whole new personality.

Do you have any favorite designers?

No. I went to a fashion show for those girls who live with their parents in L.A. [Rodarte], and the reporter asked me what I was wearing.

I said, "Gap."

--

monica.corcoran@latimes.com

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