The series premiere of ‘The New Look,’ episodes 1, 2 & 3, Apple TV+’s new drama show, brings us to the union of the Nazi-occupied Paris and the booming world of fashion that was crushed by it. Seeing the story through the lives and desperation of one Christian Dior (Ben Mendelssohn) & Coco Chanel (Juliette Binoche), both of whom got wrapped in the world of being called German enablers for the four years that they wreaked havoc on the city. The premiere episodes are set on the collapse of the Nazi’s governance in France and show how Dior and Chanel were forced to partake in helping the Germans in order to keep themselves alive.

Created by Todd A. Kessler, who also directed the first two episodes, the show opens in 1958 before going back four years. In the following article, we will take a detailed look at the first three episodes of The New Look; if you haven’t watched them, I’d recommend coming back because this will be full of spoilers.

The New Look (Series Premiere) Recap:

The New Look Episode 1 “Just You Wait and See” Recap:

The episode introduces us to Christian Dior as a generally anxious man. His new collection is about to be made public, and he is unable to bring him to the idea of going out to introduce it. On the flipside, Coco Chanel has returned to Paris after her exile and is spewing vitriol about Dior, who she claims to be a  Nazi enabler that made gowns for German women and girlfriends when everyone else was against their rule.

However, when students who have come to attend Dior’s collection question him about his integrity and why he did what he did for the Nazis. He says that the story is bigger than what is reported or known to people, and thus, we move back in time to a Nazi-occupied Paris.

High On Films in collaboration with Avanté

Flashback 4 years. Dior is working for Lucien Lelong (John Malkovich), who runs his business of making clothes, but all of his work is done by designers like Dior and a few others. So, it is Lucien who is forced to make dresses for the Nazis, and because he is scared for his life and his employees, he decides to keep doing it in spite of how wrong it feels.

However, we soon learn that Dior doesn’t use the money that he makes from Lucein’s business for the La Résistance, a group of young women and men who are trying to end the Nazi rule. His concerns are bigger than that, though. His younger sister Catherine (Maisie Williams), whom he feels responsible for, is a messenger for the Resistance. Catherine and her boyfriend Hervé (Hugo Becker) bring one of the students of the resistance to Dior’s house, which he is not too eager about.

On the other hand, Coco Chanel’s nephew is kidnapped by the Nazis, and when she is forced to call in favor of the Germans to have him released, she ends up owing them in a way. Hans Von Dinklage, a.k.a Spatz (Claes Bang in another manipulative villainous turn after ‘Bad Sisters’), charms his way into Coco’s life and turns her into a person who just needs to follow what he wants her to do.

She is also desperate because her business, which she had been running with the Wertheimer brothers, who were Jewish by origin, was lost to her. Since the brothers flew to the US during the Nazi invasion, she had no way of tracing her money and owning it. In desperation, she feels like taking Sptaz and the German intelligence’s help would be a good idea. The newly appointed intelligence officer Walter Schellenberg (Jannis Niewöhner) invites or, more appropriately, asks her to come to the ball.

On the other end, Dior is also asked to come to the same ball where he is to fix one of the dresses he has made for a German woman. When he does reach the woman, he realizes that it is a French woman who has been asking her to come meet her because she wanted to warn him about Catherine, who is on the lookout for being a messenger for the resistance by German authorities.

What do the Germans want from Coco?

Episode 1 of The New Look ends with the German officials raiding one of the hideouts of the students in the resistance, killing them thereafter. As Dior is trying to rush away from the party, we see him locking eyes with Coco, unaware that both of them are sort of in the same boat. Coco has been ordered by Schellenberg to be their main asset for bringing peace for Germans with Great Britain. We also see Catherine being taken away by the officials before she can deliver her last message, and Dior is unable to warn her about it.

The New Look Episode 2 “The Hour” Recap:

Episode 2 of The New Look opens with the realization that Catherine has been captured by the German forces and has been taken to ‘The House.’ It’s a place that is untouched by both The Resistance and French police and is used to torture political prisoners.

Dior is broken for not being able to do anything for his sister, having promised her mother that he would always take care of her. So, he turns to his designer friends for comfort. The show briefly shows us Dior’s relationship with a fellow man (his homosexuality was revealed long after in reality), although I would have liked a better take on it. Lucien, who is also sitting with the designers, suggests that the things in The House are horrific and they can get some kind of help from The French police.

A still from The New Look Episode 3.
A still from The New Look Episode 2.

What is Operation Modellhut?

On the other hand, Coco tells Spatz that she won’t be able to do what the Germans want her to do. Spatz warns her about not crossing a line with Schellenberg because that would mean her losing any say in her business. Basically, they round her out of options and force her to take orders as Spatz keeps seducing her with his charm. When Schellengerg summons her to his office next, he tells her that she will be the most important figure in bringing peace to the ongoing war between the Germans and Britain. He tells her that she will be a part of Operation Modellhut, where her role would be to meet Winston Churchill in Madrid and give him the peace offering that Germany is willing to give. 

Who is Elsa?

The overwhelming personality of Schellenberg doesn’t allow Coco to say anything, but back to her place at the Ritz hotel, she tells Spatz that it is impossible for her to do so. When Spatz tells her that there is no other way for her, she remembers her other old acquaintance, Elsa Schiaparelli, a part of the British Royalty who was an outcast for marrying an Italian Fasict. She says that even though she has been an outcast, Churchill still has a soft corner for her, and taking her along would make their mission easier.

Next, we see Elsa being abducted from her house in Rome and brought to Paris. Coco lies through her teeth and tells her that the two of them will be opening a boutique in Madrid and will soon be going on the journey together. We see them on a train next, where Spatz also warns Coco about another failed mission by some German spies who were killed by Hilter. He tells her that her mission is second in line. It’s obvious that his kind of manipulation is not just sexual but psychological as well. The train is stopped somewhere on the Spanish border, and Spatz leaves the women alone, only to receive them when they reach Madrid. However, by this time, the fear of not doing the job properly and losing life sets in on Coco.

What does Dior wish to do in order to Help Catherine?

On the other end, Dior is trying his best to find a way to save Catherine. He alternates between the help from Lucein and The Resistance, the latter planning to bomb train tracks that will be carrying German goods and possibly political prisoners from The House. They know that the German rule in France may be coming to a close, and bombing their trains would be like a final statement. However, the show is focused on Dior’s story, so we see his desperation about their plan, feeling like her sister could get killed by these random bombings. So, he and Lucein find a way with the help of some contacts in the Spanish and French police. They plan to drive all the way to a border Spanish station and bring Catherine out of the train.

High On Films in collaboration with Avanté

Is Coco able to bring Operation Modellhut to fruition?

Coco and Elsa reach the Ritz hotel in Madrid and get into a fight. We learn that Coco was infamous for stealing Elsa’s ideas. We also learn that Coco is blissfully unaware that is, in fact, helping the Nazis – the scum of the earth. The fight in the brunch room possibly leads to the British officials being alerted.

The next day, one of the British governors comes to the hotel and makes Coco aware that Elsa has revealed what she is there for. He tells her that Churchill will not be meeting her – not now, not ever. This basically means that Operation Modellhut is not successful, as Coco is deported back to Paris by the British officials.

The ending of Episode 2 of The New Look finds Dior reaching the Spanish border station just in the knick of time, but the train doesn’t stop for him to save Catherine. Later, we realize that Germans were altered about the resistance bombing and decided not to stop the train at those stops.

The New Look Episode 3 “Nothing But Blue Skies” Recap:

Paris is in absolute chaos in Episode 3 of The New Look. It’s obvious that the war is coming to an end, and we finally meet one of the leaders of the resistance – Pierre Balmain (Thomas Poitevin). He meets Coco Chanel, who is in splits about realizing that she might be in trouble. Pierre tells her that both Coco and Baron are now on the resistance’s hit list of people who have been enemies of the state. And in order to get off it, Coco must help him with the info of Spatz.

Dior is now desperate to have information about Catherine; more so if she is alive or dead. Balenciaga suggests that he takes the help of Coco because apparently she has direct contact with the Germans, but he tells them that she wouldn’t help him because of some history of rivalry between the two.

So, instead, he decides to approach the French woman who called her at the ball event to warn about Catherine. He knew that she had a German boyfriend, so she might help him get some insider news. Thus, he reaches her apartment, where she tells her that her boyfriend is a German businessman, but he will only help if he can arrange some money. When Dior visits her again, both the German businessman and the French woman tell him that he should wait for a message from them about a place of info and money exchange and tell him to get a lot of it.

What does Dior do to arrange money for the exchange?

Since Dior doesn’t have enough money, he decides to go to Balenciaga. But since he is bankrupt, too, he finally decides to steal some fabrics from Lucein’s collection. In a poignant moment, we see Lucein offering him his best fabric, unsure if it’s because of his kind heart or the guilt of him being one of the reasons for him having to make dresses for the Nazis.

The German businessman’s messenger comes to tell Dior about the info exchange address, but since Herve is with him at the time of receiving the message, he tells Dior not to go there alone, in spite of being insisted to. Dior does not want the resistance’s help anymore after losing his sister once before because of them. However, the kind of man that he is, he is unable to say no to them, and they follow him to the exchange.

What does Coco learn about Spatz?

Later, Coco is called to the German Intelligence Office by Schellenberg, who, in a threatening way, tries to override Coco now that she has failed the mission. It’s discomforting to watch the sequence where he reveals to her that Spatz, who is, in fact, married, was deployed by the Nazis to seduce and manipulate Coco to do certain things for them. The moment of realization pierces through her heart, and she is unable to understand Spatz’s reasons for abandoning her. It finally dawns on her why she has become an enemy of the states, but the bewildering realization also makes her send in a word to Spatz. 

When she meets Spatz, who has been in hiding, he is able to manipulate her again, and they make love. However, Coco ends up giving Pierre his location. Baron then insists that both him and Coco should flee away from Paris because the Nazi occupation is coming to an end. This is where we realize that Coco was confused about whether she actually was against her own country because, in fact, she was. While putting herself first wasn’t a bad thing – especially when it comes to survival, the lack of understanding about everything makes us realize that she doesn’t have a conscience.

The New Look Episode 3 “Nothing But Blue Skies” Ending Explained:

What happens at the exchange?

At the exchange, Dior meets the German businessman and his girlfriend, but Herve accompanies him. Dior hands him the money and fabric and, in return, learns that Catherine is at one of the Nazi correction camps. He does not reveal if she is dead or alive and gets in a standoff with Herve, who kills him. Dior is left with nothing again since he was unable to find out if his sister is alive, and the only person who could have helped is now dead.

Is Catherine Dead or Alive?

The chaos on the streets starts getting intense as German soldiers start fleeing. We briefly see Catherine and the others at the camp being released, but whether they are actually released or being sent to be killed is not revealed to us.

How does Coco Save herself?

Baron, who has been with Coco through thick and thin, is caught by the people of the resistance. We realize that Coco, who has always been a liar and a selfish person, gave up on her best friend just to get off the hit list. It shows us just how hollow her heart was, in spite of her being desperate for her own survival.

The end of The New Look Episode 3 shows us Dior back home, unable to understand what he must do now to get Catherine’s whereabouts. So, as a last option, he decides he would go to Coco’s hotel room at the Ritz and beg for help. Does she help him? She does not. This is because Coco is stuck in the in-between. She was able to get out of her sticky situation by sacrificing her friend, and by revealing Spatz’s address, she couldn’t get the Germans to help now either.

High On Films in collaboration with Avanté

The final moments of episode 3 of The New Look show the bells of Paris ringing again. The people are free again, and Coco is seen thanking the French officials for their service. Meanwhile, a lost Dior looks out of his window, hoping that Catherine is okay.

Read More: Everything Coming to Apple TV+ in February 2024

The New Look (Series Premiere), Episodes 1, 2 & 3 Links: IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes
The New Look (Series Premiere), Episodes 1, 2 & 3 Cast: Ben Mendelsohn, Juliette Binoche, Maisie Williams, John Malkovich, Claes Bang

Where to watch The New Look

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