Apple has been quietly putting together what’s starting to look like the chicest history lesson on TV. In February, the company’s streaming service announced its plans for The New Look, a drama series and “epic thriller” filmed exclusively in Paris that delves into the height of Christian Dior’s reign over haute couture and fashion at large. But it wasn’t the past couple of weeks that we learned who would be a part of the cast apart from Ben Mendelsohn, who will play Dior, and Juliette Binoche, who will play Dior’s rival Coco Chanel. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the pair will be joined by a modern-day style star: Maisie Williams, who’s been steadily delving into fashion in the years since she starred as Arya Stark on Game of Thrones. (The 25-year-old actor has been known to collaborate with her boyfriend, the designer Reuben Selby, and established herself as one of Thom Browne’s foremost muses.) And with each new casting announcement, the show’s far-off release date couldn’t come soon enough. Here, catch up on everything we know about it so far.
Who’s in the cast of The New Look?
Ben Mendelsohn and Juliette Binoche lead up the cast as the characters likely to deliver the most drama: rivals Christian Dior and Coco Chanel. Williams seems to also have a prominent role as Catherine Dior, a French resistance fighter who was the couturier’s younger sister and namesake of his Miss Dior fragrance. (She was arrested by the Gestapo in 1944, and worked in a concentration camp before being released and awarded the King’s Medal for Courage in the Cause of Freedom.) And on Thursday, Apple finally shared some more casting news: John Malkovich will play Lucien Lelong, president of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture throughout the Nazi’s occupation. Emily Mortimer has also come on board to play Eva Colozzi, a friend and muse of Chanel’s, while Claes Bang will play Hans Von Dincklage, a German intelligence officer on a mission to seduce and spy on the women of Paris’s high society. If the show is true to life, he’ll get coziest with Chanel, helping to finance her increasingly expensive lifestyle and free her nephew from a stalag in Germany. As the story goes, it was in exchange for the latter that Chanel registered as a German agent. (You can read more about her years as a spy and anti-Semitic beliefs here.)
What’s the plot?
Set in the decade following World War II, the series will presumably kick off in 1947, the year Dior introduced the “New Look” silhouette that would go on to revolutionize the fashion industry and establish Paris as the world’s fashion capital. Thanks largely to Chanel, it didn’t do so without drama. “Look how ridiculous these women are, wearing clothes by a man who doesn’t know women, never had one, and dreams of being one,” the designer once snapped when asked for her opinion on her peer. It’s unclear how prominently Chanel—and her ties to the Nazis—will figure into the series, seeing as she moved to Switzerland for several years after the war. But you can expect “surprising stories” of plenty more of her and Dior’s rivals and contemporaries—Cristóbal Balenciaga, Hubert de Givenchy, Pierre Balmain, Pierre Cardin, and Yves Saint Laurent all among them. The latter became Dior’s design assistant in 1955, and went on to become the world’s youngest couturier when he took over from Dior upon the couturier’s sudden death two years later.
The show seems to be fully in the hands of Todd A. Kessler, its director, writer, and executive producer. Before The New Look, he directed four episodes of The Sopranos and created and wrote two drama-filled series, Bloodline and Damages.
When does The New Look hit Apple TV?
Alas, the streaming service has yet to release a release date, meaning the show is likely pretty far off. But while promoting her last TV show, Pistol, this week, Williams let slip that she just touched down in Paris to start filming. It seems like Kessler may later make up for the wait: According to the Hollywood Reporter, there have been discussions about adapting The New Look into an anthology series focusing on a new fashion set each season.
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