Prêt-à-Porter (film)

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Prêt-à-Porter / Ready to Wear
Ready to wear pret a porter american poster.jpg
American theatrical promotional poster
Directed byRobert Altman
Produced by
  • Robert Altman
  • Scott Bushnell
Written by
  • Robert Altman
  • Barbara Shulgasser
Music byMichel Legrand
  • Jean Lépine
  • Pierre Mignot
Edited by
Distributed byMiramax Films
Release date
  • 23 December 1994 (1994-12-23)
Running time
133 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
  • English
  • French
  • Italian
  • Russian
  • Spanish
Box officeUS$19.8 million[2]

Prêt-à-Porter, released in the US as Ready to Wear (Prêt-à-Porter), is a 1994 American satirical comedy-drama film co-written, directed, and produced by Robert Altman[3] and shot on location during the Paris Fashion Week with a host of international stars, models, and designers.[citation needed]

The film features an extensive ensemble cast, including Katarzyna Figura, Anouk Aimée, Marcello Mastroianni, Sophia Loren, Kim Basinger, Stephen Rea, Lauren Bacall, Julia Roberts, Tim Robbins, Lili Taylor, and Sally Kellerman.


As models, designers and journalists gather for Paris Fashion Week, Fashion Council head Olivier de la Fontaine chokes to death on a sandwich, leaving behind a wife, a mistress, and a mysterious Russian companion who has fled the scene. As the death is being investigated, three rival magazine editors vie for the exclusive services of a trendy photographer who sexually humiliates the three; leading them to vow vengeance against the photographer. Meanwhile two American journalists (Julia Roberts and Tim Robbins) begin a hotel room tryst during fashion week.



In the United States the film was released with the title Ready to Wear (Prêt-à-Porter). In other countries, the original title was used. The U.S. DVD and VHS title was Robert Altman's Ready to Wear.


The film was R-rated by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). However, following an advertisement by Columbia Records for the soundtrack album featuring a naked Helena Christensen in The New York Times which also said "See the Movie", the MPAA threatened to rescind its rating unless the company agreed not to use the image advertising the film.[4]

Critical reception[edit]

Prêt-à-Porter holds a 24% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 25 reviews, with an average rating of 4.75/10.[5]

Roger Ebert gave the film two-and-a-half stars out of four and thought it "should have gone further and been meaner; too many of [Altman's] jokes are generic slapstick, instead of being aimed squarely at industry's targets."[6] Gene Siskel gave it one-and-a-half out of four stars and called it "a true bomb as director Robert Altman, on a very hot streak, improbably finds absolutely nothing funny or fresh to say about the fashion industry and the 'journalists' who cover it with a wet kiss. Lacking a screenplay, Altman's intercutting among boring caricatures grows old quickly, and after 2½ hours, it may occur to you: 'I could have been shopping.'"[7] Janet Maslin of The New York Times wrote that Altman's "laissez-faire satirical style proves ineffectual for shooting fish in this barrel. Fashion is too self-conscious to be skewered so casually."[8] Rita Kempley of The Washington Post called the film "a mess" that was "most compelling when Altman turns his camera on the kitschy runway shows themselves ... Perhaps Altman should have made this film as a documentary instead."[9] Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times wrote that the film "sounds like Altman's most recent successes, 'The Player' and 'Short Cuts.' But there is a difference between creative improvisation and absolute chaos, and while those films were delicately balanced balls that magically stayed in the air, 'Ready to Wear,' with a script credited to Altman and Barbara Shulgasser, has a haphazard 'Let's go to Paris and see what happens' feeling that wastes everyone's time and talent."[10] Owen Glieberman of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a grade of C- and wrote, "Virtually everything that happens is held up for our ridicule, yet it's never quite clear what we're supposed to be laughing at. The characters aren't really mocked for their attitudes, their obsessions with glamour and money and style. They aren't savaged in any specific, observational ways that could truly be called satirical. They're made fun of simply because they're silly, trivial human beings—walking punchlines in a joke that never arrives. It's like watching an Altman film that's been drained by a vampire."[11]

John Simon writing for the National Review said Prêt-à-Porter was a picture that only a director's mother could love and that though the film lasted over two hours, wore out its welcome in ten minutes.[12]

Box office[edit]

The film had a weak debut and bombed at the box office.[13] By the end of its run, the film grossed US$11,300,653 in the domestic box office.[14]

Year-end lists[edit]


Award Category Subject Result
Golden Globe Awards Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy Prêt-à-Porter Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Sophia Loren Nominated
National Board of Review Awards Best Acting by an Ensemble Marcello Mastroianni, Sophia Loren, Jean-Pierre Cassel, Kim Basinger, Chiara Mastroianni, Stephen Rea, Anouk Aimée, Rupert Everett, Rossy de Palma, Tara Leon, Georgianna Robertson, Lili Taylor, Ute Lemper, Forest Whitaker, Tom Novembre, Richard E. Grant, Anne Canovas, Julia Roberts, Tim Robbins, Lauren Bacall, Lyle Lovett, Tracey Ullman, Sally Kellerman, Linda Hunt, Teri Garr, Danny Aiello, Jean Rochefort, Michel Blanc Won


  1. "Here Comes the Hotstepper" (Heartical Mix) - Ini Kamoze
  2. "My Girl Josephine" - Super Cat
  3. "Here We Come" - Salt-N-Pepa
  4. "Natural Thing" - M People
  5. "70's Love Groove" - Janet Jackson
  6. "Jump On Top of Me" - The Rolling Stones
  7. "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" - Sam Phillips
  8. "Pretty" (Remix) - The Cranberries
  9. "Third Time Lucky" - Basia
  10. "Martha" - Eric Mouquet, Michel Sanchez forming the group Deep Forest
  11. "Close to You" - The Brand New Heavies
  12. "Keep Givin' Me Your Love" (West End Mix) - Cece Peniston
  13. "Get Wild" - The New Power Generation
  14. Supermodel Sandwich - Terence Trent D'Arby
  15. "Lemon" (Perfecto Mix) - U2


  1. ^ "Prêt-à-Porter (Ready to Wear)". British Board of Film Classification. Retrieved 2017-02-04.
  2. ^
  3. ^ Maslin, Janet (2007). "NY Times: Prêt-à-Porter". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2007-12-19. Retrieved 2009-04-02.
  4. ^ Evans, Greg (December 16, 1994). "Miramax hijinks don't 'Wear' well with Valenti". Daily Variety. p. 6.
  5. ^ Ready to Wear (Prêt-à-Porter) at Rotten Tomatoes
  6. ^ Ebert, Roger (December 25, 1994). "Ready to Wear (Prêt-à-Porter)". Retrieved December 14, 2018.
  7. ^ Siskel, Gene (December 30, 1994). "'Ready to Wear' quickly starts to unravel in Altman's hands". Chicago Tribune. Section 7, page B.
  8. ^ Maslin, Janet (December 23, 1994). "Altman's Swipe At Fashion". The New York Times. C1.
  9. ^ Kempley, Rita (December 25, 1994). "Altman's Got Nothing To 'Wear'". The Washington Post. G8.
  10. ^ Turan, Kenneth (December 23, 1994). "'Ready to Wear': Latest in Altman's Fashion Line". Los Angeles Times. F1, F44.
  11. ^ Glieberman, Owen (December 23, 1994). "Nothing Underneath". Entertainment Weekly. 44.
  12. ^ Simon, John (2005). John Simon on Film: Criticism 1982-2001. Applause Books. p. 452.
  13. ^ "Dumb' Laughs = a Smart Payoff : Box office: Jim Carrey vehicle pulls a 'Gump,' taking in $16.2 million on an otherwise slow film-going weekend". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-12-31.
  14. ^ Prêt-à-Porter at Box Office Mojo
  15. ^ Maslin, Janet (December 27, 1994). "CRITIC'S NOTEBOOK; The Good, Bad and In-Between In a Year of Surprises on Film". The New York Times. Retrieved July 19, 2020.
  16. ^ Arnold, William (December 30, 1994). "'94 Movies: Best and Worst". Seattle Post-Intelligencer (Final ed.). p. 20.

External links[edit]