• Tara Deighton

Chocolat ~ A Film Inspired Capsule Collection


The film, Chocolat, based on the novel by Joanne Harris, has to my mind, one of the most perfect and attainable vintage inspired wardrobes ever worn by a character in a film.

Set in the late 1950's, the main character Vianne, played brilliantly by Juliet Binoche, wears the most beautiful clothes. And it's a perfect capsule collection! So I thought I'd have a go at planning out how to go about making Vianne's wardrobe.

Vianne's outfits comprise of classic, what I call Hero, pieces very typical of the late 1950's in terms of silhouette. She's a passionate woman of South American descent and the colours and textures reflect her heritage and nomadic way of life. The main colours are earthy ~ ochres, terracottas, deep reds, and that lovely vintage peach. Then there are shots of blue throughout ~ dusty pale blue, sage blue and a navy with a dusky pink adding lightness.

She only wears skirts in the film and favours that iconic 50's item ~ the circle or half circle skirt! These are made in either 'ethnic' fabrics such as ikats or lightweight plaids and checks. I found some lovely ikat cottons at Merchant & Mills which would look gorgeous as a half circle skirt and I've included a simple diagram so you can have a go at drafting your own pattern for one.

She also wears a couple of skirts that have been picked up on her travels, as she has lived all over the world. I'd love a Mexican tourist skirt or an Austrian dirndl so I'll be keeping an eye out in vintage and charity shops and on Ebay and Etsy for a treasure or 2!

A pencil skirt is another wardrobe hero for Vianne so try looking for true vintage patterns online or on treasure hunting adventures. You want that lovely 1950's Marilyn Monroe silhouette NOT the modern skin tight versions! I made a video all about drafting a wiggle skirt inspired by Dita Von Teese which you can watch here if you want to draft your own version.

To go with her gorgeous skirts, Vianne wears an array of blouses in her signature colours. I want to find some true vintage patterns or draft my own because that winged collar is perfection. You could try out this reproduction pattern by Simplicity .

The yoke detail on the back is lovely but I would have to make the collar a bit subtler to get the chic glamour of Vianne's version.

She also wears a blouse more 1940's in style so go for this pattern by Simplicity ~ the S8447! I've used it over and over again and love it but I'd suggest getting rid of the giant pleat in the centre back as it's really unflattering. Try looking in vintage stores for pretty blouses to go with your skirts as well as making some.

I'm in love with this dress, which I'm imaginatively calling the Vianne dress! I haven't found a pattern but keep a look out for true vintage wiggle dress sewing patterns and I know Gertie has some nice versions in her books and on Charm patterns.

I think I'm going to draft my own version of this dress because it's just too sublime!

Another wonderful element to this wardrobe is the knitwear! Vianne has cardigans in shades of blue and ochre. I think this Vintage Lovely on the cover of a 1950's Vogue Knitting booklet is very Vianne and there are some lovely patterns inside that would be perfect for this capsule collection. I really need to get knitting!

This wrap top is a brilliant addition to a vintage inspired capsule wardrobe ~ as would be Johnny Depp as Roux! I'm definitely going to making my own versions and I found this pattern to use ~ Patterns by Gertie Butterick B6285 . The wrap style goes so well with the full skirt silhouette!

Accessories and adornments are kept simple, lovely 50's style kitten heels, wide belts and straw baskets collected on her travels. Everything is very elegant and chic. There is a boho edge to her jewels, her ear rings look like they could have belonged to her South American mother and she wears these all through the film. Along with her silhouette and colour palette, these form something of a signature for the character. For more about capsule wardrobes and how to develop your own, no matter your personal style, read here.

Add a vintage shawl, some tea dresses {Vianne wears a pink and a blue one with her gorgeous handknit cardigans!}, look for a vintage apron { making chocolaterie is potentially quite messy~ Venus nipple anyone?}, some kind of hand embroidered gilet and a 50's style jacket completes your Chocolat inspired Capsule Collection!


I hope this has inspired you as much as Chocolat has inspired me over the years?! I'm going to have to put this vintage inspired collection together in real life and I'll let you know how that goes!


Happy Sewing my Lovelies,


Tara x













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