A photo essay on French style by Geri, who yearns to be French in her next life.
I think everyone in Paris is tres chic, from the bebes in their hand-knit sweaters…
to the octogenarian who tilts her beret just so.
The moment I stepped into Miller et Bertaux, on Rue Ferdinand Duval, I knew I was going to buy something. I am wearing my purchases, a featherweight raincoat in eggplant…
and a gorgeous silk dress and scarf—with an ever-so-slightly different pattern—that designer Francis Miller adjusts perfectly.
Francis’s friend Katherine stops by his shop to say hello, wearing a belted denim skirt with a short leather jacket, that’s definitely on trend.
Saleswomen Yvette does justice to her employer’s clothes.
…nor this one, which teams a leather shirt jacket with a short-sleeved open sweater. “This is a hot trend,” said FOF Frenchwoman Cecile, who I spotted checking into a flight to New York.
So, my views are clear, but what do you think of French style?
Wendy Foster suggests her favorite, just-in Parisian products:
Wendy Foster owns four trend-setting boutiques in Santa Barbara, where her keen eye for laid-back/sexy styling has made her a fashion icon. She also happens to be funny, smart and generally the type of person you want as a friend. Here she lets us in on what’s très chic from France this season:
Le Phare De La Baleine Classic Striped Sailor Shirts, $114, “The stripes on this shirt are classic French. It’s just a good fit and comes in purples, reds and gray.”
Diptyque Crème Riche Body Butter, $98, “It’s a really rich body butter, that’s opulent, indulgent and delightful.”
Gallégo-Desportes Blouses and Dresses, $350+, “When George Sand, the lover of the famous pianist, Chopin, died, they saved all of her clothes. The new Gallégo-Desportes line mimics her pieces.”
Christian Lacroix Papier Notebook in Fuchsia, $18, “Last year Lanvin designed stamps, this year Christian Lacroix has come out with a line of chic paper goods. Writing is à la mode again.”
Diptyque John Galliano Candle, $68, “It smells like the incense in Catholic churches. I don’t normally like perfumes and scents but this is quite nice.”
Sally Hilkene of Churchill boutique picks her French pièces de résistance:
Sally Hilkene is the stylist and owner of Churchill in Fairway, Kansas. She travels the world to stock her 12,000-square-foot boutique with one-of-a-kind pieces, and has become known as the ultimate jewelry scout. If Sally says it’s fabulous in May, expect to see it in every fashion mag under the sun by fall.
Below are her pièces de résistance from France:
Philippe Audibert Barrette Coeur Bracelet, $225, “Cuffs are selling very well right now.”
Robert Goossens Turquoise Clip Earrings, $480.00, “A lot of our FOF customers have un-pierced ears, so these clip earrings work great and look beautiful too.”
Luc Keiffer Barbed Wire Bangle, $245.00, “These pieces are timeless and will never go out of style.”
Robert Goossens Green Resin Cuff, $495.00, “Oversized, colorful cuffs are great for this time of year and clear resin is very in right now. Try adding a bangle to complete the look.”
Armand Diradourian Woven Silk & Cashmere Kaftan, $685.00, “My FOF customers love these.”
Gigi Grimstad of Jamie in Nashville weighs in on French designer duds:
Gigi Grimstad is the owner of Jamie in Nashville, Tennessee, which she opened in 1973. Nashville elite (including Faith Hill and our own FOF founder Mary Carol Fridell) swear by her store for their designer duds. Here are her premier Parisian picks:
Lanvin Stilettos, “Lanvin’s killer runway stilettos have a metal spike heel and chain and leather around the ankle. They are spectacular on!”
Lanvin Flats, “Lanvin’s flats are for the woman who seeks edge coupled with comfort. They have a lucite heel and a chain around the ankle – definite must haves.”
Lanvin Silk Shift and Cotton Dress, “Lanvin’s spring collection is the French woman’s dream. The beautiful khaki dress with a twist on the shoulder is understated sophistication and the hot pink silk shift with the flower at the waist is a fun punch!”
Vionnet Skirt and Dress, “The prettiest of the prettiest French is Vionnet. The fine architectural pieces are for those that understand being beautiful is simply wearing something beautiful and feeling gorgeous in it.”
Jody Steinman, owner of Couture Allure vintage boutique recommends French frocks for FOFs:
Jody Steinman is the owner of the esteemed vintage shop, Couture Allure, just outside of Boston. Steinman worked for over 25 years in all aspects of the fashion trade, including design, wholesale, and retail management and training, and she’s quick to sing the praises of classic French tailoring:
Vintage 50s GIVENCHY Cashmere Sweater & Linen Skirt Set S, $195.00, “The linings are set in by hand, the zippers are sewn in by hand, even the buttonholes are worked by hand. You cannot find quality like this without paying thousands of dollars, which is one of the best reasons to buy vintage.”
Vintage 1997 CHANEL Yellow Boucle Suit Small bust 36, $875.00, “The thing that draws me to French designer fashion like this piece is the quality of the fabrics, trims, as well as the construction techniques. Even the buttons are special.”
Vintage 60s CHRISTIAN DIOR Pret-a-Porter Silk Suit Small bust 36,” $950.00, “This piece was made in the designer’s Paris workroom. It is not the color or the design that draws me to pieces by Chanel or Dior – it is simply the designer label itself.
FOF expert Joan Shepp picks her French Faves.
In honor of Paris Week, we recruited four fashion pros to scour their racks for the crème de la crème of spring fashion from France. In our first installment we speak with Joan Shepp, the owner of the eponymous Joan Shepp boutique in Philadelphia. She’s been discovering haute fashion for 30+ years and was the first to bring designers such as Yohji Yamamoto to Philly.
Joan carries lots of French-designed–and inspired–items, but for FOF, she picked the ones with the highest “Ooh la la!” factor:
Jive Bag (small) by Beracamy $375 “Beracamy bags are functional, fashionable and made with great leathers. They fit into a price range that many items from Paris do not. This Jive Bag is just as luxurious as something two or three times that price.”
Wired Ruffle Blouse $178 You can be as finicky as the French with this incredible top. “With one shirt you have an endless amount of looks by simply molding the collar or cuffs however you like.”
Perforated Leather Handbag by Yves Saint Laurent, $1495 “Items from Yves Saint Laurent are always classically French.”
Demisos Heel by Robert Clergerie, $685 These vibrant pumps with a deconstructed butterfly print evoke the spirit of Jardin du Luxembourg on a spring day. “They are handmade in a factory in France that is over 100 years old. The true attention to detail is what makes these shoes so amazing.”
Triple Layer Tank by Majestic, $116, Linen Dress $226, AND Ribbed V-Neck, $150 “Our basic items from Majestic are made in France using a unique process that makes them incredibly soft and beautiful,” says Joan.
Lorel Lace Up by Repetto, $375 “Repetto is a brand that started with dance shoes. They’re beautifully crafted, form to your foot and always have the best colors and textures.”