First and foremost it’s a question of… No, wait, let’s start with some scenes. A night in Paris, Jeanne Moreau, or in this case «Catherine», dressed in white, takes a few measured steps, casts a fleeting glance at the Jules et Jim cameraman: and then throws herself into the Seine! But one detail is missing. Before jumping, she raises the veil over the brim of her hat. A few scenes prior, though, when «Jim» visits her in her room, he sits on the bed and sets his hat down there. The woman protests: doesn’t he know that brings bad luck?
Jules et Jim by Truffaut, A Clockwork Orange by Kubrick, Charlie Chaplin.
Once again: play the opposite game of “find the differences” between cinema’s sweetest homeless man, Charlie Chaplin’s «Charlot», and Hollywood’s most violent character, «Alex DeLarge» from A Clockwork Orange. There are myriad differences. But both wear bowler hats. (Actually they both carry a stick too, but use it very differently).
So, it’s a question of style. Jeanne never forgoes elegance, even before her crazy dive. Nor does she deny superstition. Because the hat on the bed evokes ugly memories, which stick to clothes like a bad smell. But it’s also quite another matter. You can wear the same hat and be sweet or violent, scruffy or elegant, selfish or responsible.
It’s a question of who chooses.