Becker spent years as Jean Renoir's assistant, and the influence is plain, even in this novelettish tale of a philanderer's downfall. Characters are presented warmly but objectively, so that the fashion designer hero, M. Clarence, is at once a childish manipulator who spins out of control when denied his own way, and a helpless victim in the grip of an infatuation. The object of his desire - his best friend's fiancée - is a careless flirt and a kind woman trying her best not to hurt anyone. Also Renoir-like is the absorbing picture of a fashion house at work. Becker probably had no choice, though, except to go for a big finish, with suicides galore (well, two) as Maison Clarence unveils its autumn collection.