To prepare for his cover sitting with Marion Cotillard for TIME Style&Design’s fall issue, photographer Peter Hapak hit the archives, collecting pictures of Paris and Parisian fashion during the 1930s, including the work of famed French photographer Jacques Henri Lartigue. Studying images of women in restaurants, chatting with friends or simply roaming the streets of the city, Hapak easily understood why Paris has long been considered a fashion capital of the world. “All of the women looked like they had walked out of a fashion magazine,” he says. “Fashion is such a big part of the culture there, and you can even feel that history when walking through the city today.”
On set in Paris this August, Hapak tried to evoke this era, capturing Cotillard in designs by French fashion houses Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior, along with other designers like Andrew Gn and Dries Van Noten. “She’s the representation of the French woman for me—elegant, but not too stylized,” says Hapak of Cotillard, who won the Academy Award for Best Actress in 2007 for her portrayal of French singer Édith Piaf in La Vie en Rose. “With the cover look, it felt like she was pulling a dress out of her own closet. It went so well with her style, and she felt really confident in it, that you would have never known she was dressing up for a shoot.”
Peter Hapak is a contract photographer for TIME. In December of 2011, Hapak photographed The Protester, TIME’s Person of the Year.