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A young Vincent Cassel burst on to the screen in La Haine, the gritty mid-nineties movie about life in Paris’ violent banlieu. Since, the French actor has become an indie-movie darling, working with auteurs Darren Aronofsky, David Cronenberg and Gaspar Noé, and starring alongside Hollywood’s most famous names (even marrying one, his first wife, the Italian bombshell Monica Bellucci). All the while exuding a very Gallic brand of indifference – “good guys need to be a bit dirty, else they are just boring,” he once said.
Indifference could well describe his sense of style, too – he has perfected an oh-so-French insouciance, the appearance of having thrown on an outfit in a hurry and yet looking entirely elegant for the very same reason (which is also why he’s beloved by fashion, too, with shoots in Vogue Hommes and Vanity Fair). On anybody else his clothing – navy suits, chinos, polo-neck jumpers and the like – might be unremarkable, but he carries them with a swagger that’s all his own.
It’s on La Croisette in Cannes when the film festival comes around – he is a regular, and certified French-film royalty – that he comes into his own, his nonchalant stylings perfectly suited to the undone glamour of the Riviera. Whether linen shirts, in navy or white and unbuttoned to the chest, or a just-mismatching blazer and trouser, with suede loafers (sans socks), he shows why warm-weather style is at its best when it’s not quite perfect. Because perfect, as Cassel would say, is just boring.
“Perfection is not just about control, it is also about letting go”
– Vincent Cassel