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The pungent fresh fish section of Rungis, the sprawling, wholesale food market outside of Paris, is the last place one would expect to find an “It” girl tottering around in a Jean Paul Gaultier couture dress and stilettos. But that’s just where Audrey Marnay ends up in a memorable scene from Cédric Klapisch’s film “Paris,” now playing in French cinemas.
This story first appeared in the March 31, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The movie stars Romain Duris as Pierre, a young dancer with a potentially fatal heart disease, whose sister (Juliette Binoche) moves in with him after his diagnosis. While Pierre awaits a transplant, he is left ample time to sit and observe his fellow Parisians, including a gaggle of models played by real-life mannequins Marnay, Farida Khelfa, Suzanne Von Aichinger and Annelise Hesme.
The girls serve as a bit of comic relief, taking a wild ride on a forklift at the food market and later cavorting around the Gaultier couture show. “This fashion moment rings true,” says Khelfa. “It shows the euphoria of this universe.”
But it’s a world that in real life the models seem to be abandoning in favor of the big screen. Khelfa, a former muse for Azzedine Alaïa and couture director at Gaultier, has wrapped a handful of film roles recently. One of Carla Bruni-Sarkozy’s best friends (Khelfa was a witness at her February wedding to French President Nicholas Sarkozy), she played herself in “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” and will next appear in Souad El-Bouhati’s movie “Française,” which opens in Paris May 28, and Yamina Benguigui’s project for French television, “Aisha.”
Meanwhile, freckle-faced Marnay will play a vampire in director Raoul Ruiz’s next movie, scheduled for a release at the end of the year. “Fashion is not for me anymore,” says the 27-year-old. “I’m too old and too short.”