Last week, TCM broadcast the early ’60s film Good Neighbor Sam, one of those effortless and interchangeable Jack Lemmon comedies. It co-starred a young Romy Schneider, the Austrian beauty who captivated Europe during her brief life but is almost forgotten by North America cinephiles.
It was wonderful to see Romy in her prime again: with her glamorous chestnut mane and somewhat aristocratic bearing, she was the anti-Bardot of her time and still represents an enduring, and very European, standard of beauty for many people. While Americans preferred flirty blonde sexpots, Europe served up a number of serious-but-gorgeous brunettes as style and screen icons, and Romy Schneider was at the top of that list.
Now Aubade, the luxury French lingerie label, has taken the rather extraordinary step of immortalizing Romy with an Autumn-Winter collection filled with classic pieces inspired by the actress. As you can see above, they’ve even used a campaign model who captures Romy’s look, right down to the piercing gaze and dramatic arched eyebrows.
“Her deeply moving roles and unsettling charm have made her a myth of seduction and an unending source of inspiration,” says Aubade, and it’s true: to this day any number of French girls try to ape Romy’s cool, self-possessed allure.
There are a dozen new style lines in Aubade’s fall collection, at least two of which are a direct homage to the actress: the elegant black lace Irresistible Romy set, and the romantic Malicieuse Sissi range in a soft crystal hue and featuring the broad lace bra straps.
Other vintage-themed sets include the lace-and-mesh Retro Sculpt set, all black and inspired by the 1950s, and the sheer So Vintage range with its bright red florettes adding a pop of color.
To European audiences, Romy Schneider was best known as the title character in three “Sissi” movies about the young Empress Elisabeth of Austria — a real-life princess bride who captured the romantic imaginations of millions of girls. She went on to more serious, award-winning roles in films like The Trial and A Simple Story before dying tragically at age 43 in 1982.
Aubade’s salute to Romy captures the nobility and fairy-tale charm of the Sissi movies, as well as the mature elegance of Romy’s later roles. But there’s plenty more in the new collection, too, including lots of color, contemporary styling and some other, unusual inspirations.
The colorful Soupirs à Moscou (Moscow Sighs) line, for example, was inspired by the uniforms of Russian Cossacks, while the poetic Aubade à L’Amour line is pure cabaret styling.
Girls with more modern tastes will love the Coco Blues and Love Circus ranges, which pack some serious glamor into their deftly embroidered designs, or the bright cobalt blue of the Bahia set in embroidered cotton.
Below is a selection of images from Aubade’s fall collection. Rest in peace, Romy, knowing you are remembered fondly.