Style & Beauty
Style October 10, 2016
In terms of effortless design and style, it is well known that no one holds a candle to the French. This year’s fashion season in Paris presented a mixed bag of personal styles. “Here were your tweed-toting Karl Lagerfeld loyalists: your new-age Vetements fans, clad in extra-long-sleeved hoodies; your on-trend followers, wearing the latest Gucci accessories,” says Refinery 29.
And though a plethora of textures and colors blurred the streets during Paris Fashion Week 2016, one thing was for certain: Everyone was on point when it came to their street style game. Why? Perhaps it comes down to the je nes sais quoi that only the French know best. We’ve profiled a few of the biggest names to look out for in the fashion field and rounded up a few locals to give the world a glimpse into the city that brought us Coco Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent.
Currently a fashion designer and perfumer, Inès de La Fressange was the first model to sign a contract with the haute couture house, Chanel. Later, she would go on to become the muse of fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld and earn a place on the International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame in 1998. In a recent interview with Refinery 29, she was asked to describe her current go-to outfit.
“Navy blue sweaters, cotton shirts, white jeans, and blazers,” she replied. “I can go anywhere with those!” She also stated that the most essential item for a woman to have in her closet is “a good navy blue coat or trench coat — it’s universal and fits everybody.”
When asked by Refinery 29 to reveal the secret to French women’s signature brand of style, she responded, “Would you like to know the secret? They mix! New and vintage, casual and sophisticated, cheap and luxurious. They also pretend not to give style too much importance!”
Although the majority of the population likely envy Inès de La Fressange’s personal wardrobe, the mogul still has some items on her fashion wish list, which include pieces of her own creation.
“The next collection designed by myself and Naoki Takizawa for Uniqlo! You won’t believe that some of the items from our first collection sold out so quickly that I wasn’t able to get them!”
Holding the titles of freelance stylist and current senior fashion editor at i-D magazine, Julia Sarr-Jamois is unparalleled when it comes to street style It girls. “A pioneer of streetwear’s now ubiquitous fashion sweatshirt, the London native boasts a signature ‘fro and enviable free spirit,” says Nordstrom. Effortlessly adding various textures, colors and patterns into her ensembles, Sarr-Jamois likely could make a burlap look chic—she’s just that cool.
“Maximal minimalist or ‘extreme minimalism’ is how I would describe my style,” she told Vogue in an interview. “I like contrasting colors and textures and mixing risqué prints, but I generally stick to simple cuts, not a lot of layering and few accessories. I often add a masculine touch to my look because I don’t like an outfit that is too girly.”
In terms of daily attire, she says she can most often be found wearing “Jeans, a baggy jumper, and Gucci loafers.” She also says that every woman should own these three items: “A gray cashmere sweater as it goes with everything, great denim is essential, and a chic, flat shoe.” When asked by Refinery 29 to describe what makes French style stand out from the crowd she said, “I think French women are quite effortless — they know what they like and what they don’t! I think once they have found their style they tend to stick to it.”
Actress, model (@vacth_marine).
A model-turned-actress, Marine Vacth makes a statement with a wardrobe of easy, loose staples and typically undone hair. “She’s turned up in Chanel’s front row in high-rise mom jeans and rounded the festival circuit in couture, though we still think she looks best in the bright sundresses she wears in François Ozon’s 2013 film, ‘Young & Beautiful,’ “says Vogue. Her role in Ozon’s film “centers around a beautiful middle-class teen called Isabelle who voluntarily decides on a career in prostitution.”
Following her debut performance, Vacth quickly became the latest ingenue in the French film industry. Recently, the starlet has been compared to the likes of other beautiful French actresses including Brigitte Bardot and Marion Cotillard. And while further modeling roles in the future haven’t been ruled out by Vacth yet, she says that acting is her current focus. “I am flattered, of course,” she tells Vogue, “but let’s not forget that I am 22 years old and at the beginning of my career. Those women are world-acclaimed actresses. I just want to take it one day at a time.”
Model, Actress, Philanthropist, Film Director (@elisasednaoui)
Sednaoui, who is not only French but also claims Italian and Egyptian descent, is an actress and philanthropist dedicated to promoting global education. In terms of style, she tends to lean toward the simple model-off-duty look.
“Fashion almost seemed like a given,” says Matches Fashion. “In Egypt, Elisa’s father had built a house for Christian Louboutin next to his own house in Luxor and childhood holidays were spent inhaling the shoemaker’s colourful stories.”
Recently, Sednaoui has been the face of Giorgio Armani’s spring campaign, as well as becoming a part of Karl Lagerfeld’s inner circle. Speaking on how her personal aesthetic has changed over time she explains that she “used to wear all black, very minimal, but I’ve become more playful. London is more extravagant with fashion, more daring in many ways. I started liking colour and patterns and weird combinations.”
Outside of the high fashion scene, local Parisians have no problem exuding the chic aura for which the city is known. Perhaps the best term to describe its aesthetic? Classy. A few natives took the time to talk about their personal take on fashion and the French way of life.
Viviane Meunier looks poised in her ensemble—consisting of a tweed coat over a silk blouse, with cuffed pleated pants accompanied by strappy heels in a burgundy hue. “People would say I’m very traditional. I know my outfits very well and put them together automatically,” she told The New York Times during an interview. “I got this blouse because it’s made out of silk—its Chloe. I like its femininity, and its frou-frou! I love frou-frou.”
When asked about how she would describe the neighborhood she lived in, she told the The New York Times, “I would describe the style of Haut Marais [a section of Paris] as ‘bobo’ chic—meaning ‘bohemian bourgeoise’. There’s an undercurrent of preservative dressing that Parisians love to wear. Very classic, but intermingled with a bohemian outlook on life.”
Dressed like he just stepped out of Brooklyn onto the streets of Paris, Michel Spavone describes his personal fashion utopia to The New York Times: “Well, my dream is to have the perfect denim shirt, the perfect denim pants—to have fifteen in my closet and put the same thing on every day!” He says. “I don’t know if my devotion for Serge Gainsbourg explains this, but I like the idea of wearing a uniform. What allows me some variety are the watch, the glasses, and the boots.”
Spavone explains the origins of the luxury watch he wears. “Today I am wearing a reverso from Jaeger LeCoultre. It’s a polo watch; the idea is that gentlemen who played polo could protect their watch by turning it around and therefore avoid any hard hits on the watch’s face, and then go back to their daily life, stop playing polo, and put their watch back on the right side.”
Looking around at the bustling street that surrounds her, fashion stylist Johanna Lebrun says that what she likes the most about her neighborhood is that “it’s romantic and fashionable.” The best rule of thumb for French fashion? She tells the The New York Times, “The goal is to always have a twist, never to have a complete look. I’m wearing a dress from Vanessa Bruno’s second collection. It feels a little bit like wearing a painting—very romantic, very soft. Also, an H&M denim shirt, and a seventy-year-old Hermes bag.”
Showing off her hands to the camera, Lebrun comments that the rings she wears consist of “a vintage piece, a cheap piece, and an expensive piece. The idea is not necessarily to show off wealth, but to show a cool attitude.”
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