For more than twenty-five years, Ellen Von Unwerth has celebrated movies through her fashion photography. Her photographs are generally straightforward, without special effects of the allusion to a more complicated narrative; she simply uses characters from noted films as the protagonists of her fashion essays, such as the piece for the October 1990 issue of Vogue (available here, wm) in which models are used to reincarnate Jean Seberg and Jean-Paul Belmondo in Jean-Luc Godard’s New Wave counterculture film Breathless (1959). Von Unwerth’s fashion essay concentrates on the breezy life of the doomed lovers as they tool around Paris riding a motor scooter, smoke at cafés, and snuggle in bed. Von Unwerth exploits readers’ identification with the characters in the film, especially the generation that came of age in the 1960s, when European culture and bohemian antiestablishment lifestyle were the vogue. More specifically, the New Wave French films radically changed the way movies were made. They were consonant with the disjunctive and nonlinear literature of the time. Their off-beat characters (often based on American movie gangsters) and the details of their behavior and dress helped create an identity for members of the American couterculture.
-Susan Kismaric & Eva Respini, Fashioning Fiction