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Apple TV+’s star-studded ‘The New Look’ explores fashion under fascism

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Apple TV+’s new drama series The New Look takes viewers to Nazi-occupied Paris during World War II, and explores the choices made by now-icons like Christian Dior and Coco Chanel to keep both their art, and themselves, alive.

Ben Mendelsohn plays Dior and Juliette Binoche Chanel, whose rivalry in the fashion world simmered before — and after — the occupation.

Mendelsohn says to ABC Audio about the show, “It’s not about fashion. It’s not particularly even about Christian or Coco. It’s just about … how do you move forward in the world … when there’s this horrible sense that you could be done in, that people aren’t maybe who they say they are, that you know, all that stuff, like what matters to you and how do you do it?”

For Chanel, that meant casting her lot in with Hitler’s Nazi high command. Binoche explained of approaching her character, “I wanted to make a real human being, you know, making decisions that felt like shocking, of course, from the outside. … [I found it] important to make her emotionally reachable.”

Game of Thrones veteran Maisie Williams plays Catherine Dior, Christian’s younger sister, who is active in the French Resistance, and ends up tortured by the Gestapo and imprisoned in a concentration camp because of it.

Williams shaved her head and underwent a grueling regimen to shed 25 pounds to play Catherine throughout her ordeal. “It was really a useful tool for lots of reasons,” she explains.

“There’s of course the way that I physically change and that, you know, tells a story in and of itself. But I just think, like, focusing so intensely on my job in that way is something I could only dream of,” she insists.

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