In the touching new comedy Mrs. Harris Goes To Paris, starring Leslie Manville, a sweet and unassuming British housekeeper falls madly, inexplicably in love with a Dior dress. So much so, she saves up all the money she can, and goes to Paris to get a couture confection for herself. It’s been adapted for the screen before, from the original 1958 novel by Paul Gallico, but writer and director Anthony Fabian, along with costume designer Jenny Beavan, production designer Luciana Arrighi, and set decorator Nora Talmaier, went to great lengths to create a breathtaking fashion show in which Manville’s Mrs. Harris falls madly in love with a gown called Temptation.
Harper’s Bazaar – July 15m 2022
“I have a confession,” said Fabian in an interview earlier this week. “I have never in my life had a hankering for a Dior dress.”
Nonetheless, Fabian’s film encapsulates the irrational, magical pull that fashion has on the imagination, and the way we might behave ridiculously in pursuit of a great dress. Most charmingly, this is not a tale of consumerist shaming but of sweetness and longing, which is what drew Fabian to the source material to begin with: “There’s a kind of wonderful karmic message at the center of the film which really appealed to me,” he said, “which is that if you’re kind, that kindness will come back to you in some way.” It’s not a message that we hear much in fashion, which makes it all the more pleasurable.