Since moving to Paris, my style has evolved. I’ve grown older and wiser in the past six years, but I’ve also been exposed to what I consider (sorry, London) to be a more discerning taste level. Style—rather than trends—is more of a way of life here, probably owing to the fact that it’s also home to the world’s oldest and largest fashion houses. As Coco Chanel once said, “Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening,” and this certainly rings true in Paris.
Fortunately, thanks to friends, Instagram, the streets of Paris and fashion weeks, I’m now privy to a plethora of new French brands I can’t wait to get my mitts on each season. Naturally, there are always a few that stand out a little more than others, and I’d like to share the crème de la crème with you today. So here are the top French brands I expect to see the Parisian fashion pack reaching for in 2019—myself included!
1. ROWEN ROSE
At only 22, Parisian-born Emma Rowen Rose has managed to adorn herself with the kind of astute sense of style and sophistication that would take most women years to define—and it’s reflected in her eponymous brand. She’s created a collection of elegant dresses, two-pieces and coats that have already become popular with street style regulars.
With her finger firmly on the pulse, her pieces come in an array of bright ’90s-inspired jewel tones and silhouettes with exaggerated shoulders, puffed sleeves and draped fabric. And even if the colours are perhaps a little brash for some Parisiennes, the trousers, for example, work perfectly with a cream knit, as do her other colourful separates.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you surely will have heard of Jacquemus. Motivated by the untimely death of his mother, Simon Porte Jacquemus launched his label nine years ago when he was just 20. It has become one of the most interesting, artistic and commercially viable brands to have come out of France in the past decade, with a legion of both celebrity and high profile fashion insiders being known super-fans. So much so that it feels wrong to write about French brands without mentioning Jacquemus, even if it’s not exactly new. For S/S 19, he has given a new lease of life to the iconic French basket bag by rendering it in a raffia-fringed twist and altering the silhouettes ever so slightly. Expect to see these pieces all over Instagram come summer.
On Marissa Cox: Rouje top, jeans and sandals; Jacquemus bag
It seems apt to follow Jacquemus with Rouje, the brand created by Paris’s modern-day Jane Birkin and French It girl, Jeanne Damas, as Simon and Jeanne are best friends. When I think of the archetypal Parisian of today, Damas immediately springs to mind, so it’s no surprise Rouje has become synonymous with French style.
Elegant with just the right amount of sex appeal, Rouje perfectly inhabits the effortless, je ne sais quoi Parisian attitude we’re all trying to master. Wear Rouje and you immediately feel like a French girl. I love this season’s updated colour palette of creams, lilacs, greens and peach. What’s more is that Damas creates highly wearable, everyday pieces that look great on everyone.
If you follow the big names in fashion on Instagram (think Caro Daur, Linda Tol and Xenia Overdose), you might have noticed a very chic shearling bag popping up on their feeds these past few months. Elleme’s Baozi bag has been worn by almost anyone who’s anyone. The brand was born in Paris to a Canadian-Chinese couple who have made the French capital their home. They opened their first store in the heart of Le Marais, and the name even derives from the third person conjugation of aimer (elle aime means “she loves”). You can’t get more French than that! I particularly love the brand’s leather-trimmed raffia update for spring, which looks just as good with jeans as it will with slip dresses when the temperature rises.
5. OTHER NEW FRENCH BRANDS TO NOTE…
On Marissa Cox: Rowen Rose trousers; Arket jumper; Topshop Strippy Heeled Sandals (£45)
Okay, so I found it tough to whittle it down to just four key brands, and I have a few more notable names I’m keen to see and wear more this year. The first one is Coperni, which was launched (and re-launched) by former Courrèges creative directors Sébastien Meyer and Arnaud Vaillant. The two cleverly harnessed Instagram to create a game for their launch during fashion week called #copernizemylife. Keep an eye on their thong sandals.
Also, Marine Serre: She cut her teeth at Balenciaga and won the LVMH Prize in 2017. Oh, and she launched her second collection last season to rave reviews from the entire industry. She harks back to her former tennis-playing days by using technical and sportswear fabrics to create futuristic yet elegant pieces.
SHOP MORE PICKS FROM LESSER-KNOWN FRENCH BRANDS…