Haute Couture, a film written and produced by Sylvie Ohyon, starring Nathalie Baye and Lyna Khoudri, about trust, faith and mutual respect. It’s also a gem of a film for women and about women. It is the men who blend into the background.
The film gently explores the racial divide in France through the Haves and the Have-Nots. Jade, a girl of Arabic descent, who lives in the projects with her depressed and ailing mother, has resorted to setting up unsuspecting victims on the Paris subways and then robbing them. When Esther, a Dior seamstress, stops to listen to Jade play guitar and sing in the subway, her bag is snatched by Jade’s friend, Souad. Later Jade and Souad decide that the bag and its contents must be returned, as the gold Jewish star pendant they find in the bag, will bring them bad karma.
Instead of taking Jade to the police, on return of her bag, Esther takes Jade to a fancy restaurant for dinner. During the meal Esther notices that Jade has nimble hands, perfect for sewing and decides to offer her an internship with Dior. Esther is being retired because, as she says, “they’re afraid I might drool on the tulle.” Jade learns from Esther that the feel of fabrics, the cutting of the pleats in a new garment and the spraying of perfume indoors is more than just for the sake of appearance. She learns that taking pride in what she does gives her pride in herself.