Saturday, September 13, 2014

Revue de Presse (Press Review)

Like everyone in France keeps reminding me, c'est la rentrée. Summer is all but over. Time to head back to school, to work, to life as we know it. In the care package I received from my parents yesterday, I found an issue of Elle magazine: La Rentrée is also the time of the Fall fashion review. Jackpot. 

"Unexpected Rentrée:" Elle France loves mixing cultures, and languages.

France is changing, slowly but surely. That ad in Elle magazine announces two weeks of special sales at several malls around Paris. (Every good francophile knows that les Soldes -sales - are government-regulated in France; they only happen twice a year, and never in the Fall.)

Why don't I share some of my observations? You may find these tips useful when you put together your Fall wardrobe. 

First, Travel and Leisure. I bought it because of the cover (see above) and the promise of some scoops about Paris...

There weren't that many scoops, but the article is a good read. I learned where I could find French cuisine classics for example - but was a bit surprised that T&L editors do not know how to spell Boeuf bourguignon (a common mistake in international publications, mostly annoying to French natives.) Repeat after me, kids: Boeuf is male. The adjective that follows is, therefore, masculine. Bourguignon (not bourguignonne.) Voilà. Facile, non?

There was a shout out to several Parisian Star Pâtisseries. Among them, Sébastien Gaudard, in So-Pi (South Pigalle, in case you were wondering...) 

I can still taste the éclair au café I picked up chez Monsieur Gaudard this summer and later enjoyed in the peaceful garden of the Musée de la Vie Romantique... Absolute perfection.

(Photo French Girl in Seattle) 

Travel and Leisure gave me a wonderful idea for a Christmas gift (unless I decide not to wait and order the book next week.) 

But the French Elle magazine was waiting, and I started flipping the pages, grateful to my parents who probably spent the cost of thirty fancy pastries chez Sébastien Gaudard, to ship that monster of an issue to the United States.

Last week, I shared an article about Parisian women with the French Girl in Seattle Facebook community. Hadley Freeman, the author, ticked off by the constant stream of books and articles on the theme "French-women-do-it-better," wrote an entertaining piece and - scoop! - revealed the secret to being a Parisian woman:

1. Move to Paris
2. Speak French

Nicely tried, Hadley. But in my humble opinion, Parisian women wannabes need more insights into the lives of real French women. 

Case in point: For years,  French women, urban French women in particular - looking at you, les Parisiennes! - have been described as ethereal creatures, always impeccably dressed, who never part with their elegant escarpins (pumps,) even on snow-covered sidewalks. Bien sûr, over the years, the rule has relaxed a bit: Fashion gurus like Inès de la Fressange have shared their love for cute, colorful, more relaxed footwear. Converse-clad women of all ages are a common sight on Parisian sidewalks. Well. Wait until you see what French women are going to wear this fall. Let's just say this news is going to delight suburban moms everywhere. You know how they always tell you white, clunky sneakers are a big "no-no" in Paris (and major French cities?) Well... They still are. 

But take heart, you may actually be able to visit France with the sneakers you wear to run errands around the mall. Illustration.

(These photos probably caused Coco Chanel to roll in her grave this month.)

The Chanel sneaker: The most "Pop" shoe of the week, according to Elle
And only 850 Euros

Picture this scene: A horrified Mademoiselle decides to return from the Dead to ask Karl Lagerfeld, her successor, what he has been smoking lately. 
Karl weasels his way out of his well-deserved punishment and produces the following photo. No fewer than nine designers and brands came up with *new* handbag models clearly inspired by the iconic Chanel 2-55. Enraged, Coco forgives Karl - for now - and focuses instead on suing the whole lot. No one messes with Coco. Not even Karl

Chanel-inspired hands-free bags

Karl could argue that la maison Chanel is not the only brand featuring sneakers in their Fall collection. He would be right. 

Escarpin (I think,) by Dior

You have been warned, Parisian women wannabes. Would you like to know more? Pas de problème. This French Girl did all the research for you. 

This Fall, French women will wear a lot of grey. Grey is the color of Parisian skies nine months of the year, so we should get many different shades of that lovely color (pun intended.) 

There will be print too, on everything. This outfit was clearly inspired by Angelina Jolie's wedding gown. Did her kids draw these too? 

You will need a beautiful handbag. All French women have one (or two, or three.) This season, stay away from the Longchamp Le Pliage nylon bag. Everyone, and I mean everyone, has one in their closet. Instead, discover the new Longchamp Le Pliage Leather Heritage collection. Pourquoi pas? (even Coco might approve.) 

Finally, if your budget is limited, you could always invest in this cute t-shirt. It would accessorize très bien with those bright red sneakers you already wear every day. Le Chic à la Française. It says what it is. And nobody will question that you've got it, if it is written on a T-shirt, right?

Fortunately, as Elle magazine reminds us in this informative and colorful issue, it's always a good idea to know your classics... A woman can't go wrong when following trend-setters such as Lauren Bacall, or B.B. (Brigitte Bardot,) who turns 80 this month. Joyeux anniversaire, Brigitte !

And even if France, and French women are changing, it is good to know some myths are alive and well, and still embraced by many: designers, advertising agencies, and the general public. Long live la Mode, (Fashion.) It will keep us all talking. 

A bientôt.

All photos unless otherwise noted,
by Travel and Leisure, September 2014, 
Elle Magazine Special Mode, August 29, 2014.

Further reading: the French woman

If you really, really want to know what makes a French woman so... French, read this  story I wrote last year. Let me know what you think! 


  1. I am so glad I live in the US; I would be spending a fortune if I still lived in France. Thank you Veronique! This was entertaining and also thank you to your parents for sending the catalogue.

    1. You're welcome, Nadège. I am not sure you would spend that much money at designers' boutiques this fall ;-)

  2. absolutely delightful post....v- I personally enjoy all those books about French woman...not as any sort of bible to adhere to, but for a social stereotype type of perspective...I read, I question the picture presented and agree or disagree-Yes to really feel see and live the life of a Parisian woman one would have to totally immerse in that culture-but that is the same for anywhere-I was in New York city last week and engaged in one of our favorite activities in Union Square -people watching-the vibe- the air of the girls there is so different than Philly-so from someone who likes to view stereotypes I enjoy these reads-and as a side note I SIMPLY ADORE THE LEATHER LONGCHAMP BAG PICTURED-OH LA LA-I want one and may very well be in possession of one before we are in full fall mode-as always a pure delight have a wonderful week!

    1. My dear g. Thank you for returning. Like you, I enjoy watching life in big cities anywhere I can find it, and certainly not just in Paris. Looking at women; what they wear; how they behave. I find people watching fascinating anywhere I go, but especially in cities. As for the gorgeous Longchamp handbag, all I can say is that it is a lot cheaper than a Chanel or a Hermès bag, so who knows? Maybe le Père Noël could be talked into dropping one off by your Christmas tree this year? ;-) Bonne semaine, friend.

  3. Ha, French women in sneakers, while not working out... I'll believe it when I see it!

    1. I saw it, Liene, I saw it. I was wearing a cute pair of Converse in Paris in July. I got compliments on their color from at least three or four French women (not all young women too!) -- Times, they are a'changin'

  4. It's always a treat to get your latest update from France. Amicalement

    1. Merci bien Elizabeth. And it's always a treat to hear from you!

  5. Oh I had such a good time here...Thank you so much for this wonderful post. I read your story from last year also... Truly enjoyed it.. All I can say is Marion Cotillard is a true lady, in every sense of the word.
    I agree with you about those who would learn something from her. How a lady gets out of a car.. How right you are.
    Wishing you a peaceful Sunday

    1. Bonjour Penny. Thank you for stopping by. So glad you enjoyed this story and the Marion Cotillard/French women post. I had a great time researching it, as I recall. Happy week to you!

  6. 20 years ago I would not have dared wear tennis shoes on a trip in to Paris (I live in Versailles) but things have loosened up a lot. If I'm coming in for a date with my husband at a restaurant, I dress up and put on my nice shoes. If I'm heading in for a coffee and a walk with a friend, jeans and comfortable shoes are just fine.

    1. Bonjour Victoria. So wonderful to hear from you. I am like you; I adapt to my surroundings. See my comment above about wearing Converse in Paris. Yes, things - and rules - have loosened up a bit, and that is a good thing. Still, I will pinch myself the day I see a French woman wear big, white sneakers - the way some tourists do - outside of the gym (let's not push it, we are talking about les Parisiennes ;-)

  7. Oh and Veronique, the real reason I stopped by today was to ask if you have read Trierweiler's book. The buzz here is HUGE. Everyone is publicly saying they hate it (and wasn't she a terrible person to have written it) but privately everyone is reading it (it's a best-seller). Yes, I'm going to read it. :-)

    1. I heard all the hoopla about the T. book (I watch Le Journal on TV5 religiously every evening.) I have decided I will not read it - won't have to since excerpts have been shared in the media so generously - I don't think she should have written the book. Private life should remain private, especially for political leaders. At least wait until he is not president anymore to publish it. She comes across as petty, inelegant and hysterical. And let's not forget she once was "the other woman," so hard to have sympathy for her. That is my two cents on it. Wish the French had not turn her opus into a bestseller. But the temptation was probably too hard to resist: François Hollande is such an unpopular president!

    2. I was curious about the book too -I also watch Le Journal with minimal understanding and France 24 (English) covered it-I agree - seems like sour grapes...and you are right why do woman and men too forget that if they did it for you-they can do it to you-cheat I mean private is private-my mom always said "What happens in these four walls stays in these four walls" great topic for discussion-

    3. also V I have been meaning to say I LOVE THE NEW PICTURE!- by your French girl in Seattle-your hair looks great you look so young -love it!!

    4. Merci g. Junior took it for my new LinkedIn profile :-) I will pass it on.

  8. On parle beaucoup du magazine "Elle", en France en ce moment : rédactrice en chef "poussée" vers la sortie, motion de défiance à l'égard de Denis Olivennes (le bras armé de Lagardère)..."Elle" serait un "navire qui coule". Too sad !

    1. Ah mais oui, c'est triste. On n'imagine pas prendre le métro ou le RER le vendredi matin sans avoir son Elle magazine sous le bras. J'espère que le navire pourra être sauvé. A bientôt Alain.

  9. I am learning a lot from your post ! I grew up in Cite Condorcet in Paris, which is out of rue Condorcet and at the left end is rue des Martyrs – I never knew that this area was called South of Pigalle!
    Like you I get annoyed when I see French written grammatically wrong by businesses – on a painting I saw “Le petit fleur” ... on a painting! And at my grandson’ school, above the door to the cafeteria it said “La Petite Café” – there I went to the principal and told her to change it because children should not see it written that way – she changed it to le petit café.
    My mother was very aware of fashion; she had been a seamstress and premiere d’atelier in the haute couture. She could reproduce any high fashion outfit for me. Once I took her to a Brigitte Bardot movie so she could copie her coat – she did, in a different color – my copines were amazed. When I worked in Paris I was always in high heels and top fashion outfits …. You can see one red outfit in my post here: . That was a long time ago; now I enjoy the US relax style and being in the Deep South usually wear linen outfits in summer, mostly white … but I did buy a pair of “fashion” sneakers in Lisbon, Portugal – orange….

    1. Bonjour Vagabonde. Wonderful to have you here.
      No wonder you did not know about "SoPi" -- It's a fairly new thing. Lately, Paris has been trying to imitate Brooklyn, or so they tell me ;-)
      How great that your mom was so talented and worked in the Haute Couture world. I bet she made some very pretty things for you and your siblings. My mom, who was self-taught, used to sew, and knit, quite well. It was a different generation, where people knew how to save money by making a few things themselves (food, clothing, furniture, etc.) Now we just go out and *buy* things that usually don't last very long. Different times.
      I will go and see you red outfit on the blog. I love "seeing" my fellow bloggers once in a while, even if only on a computer screen.
      Take care.


Bonjour! I love hearing from you, my readers. To quote a fellow blogger, my friend Owen, "Comments are the icing on blogcake... Comments are the UFO in the twilight sky bearing news from other planets... Comments are raspberry vinegar in salad dressing... Comments are the cool balm of after-sun moisturizing lotion... Comments are the moment the band comes back out onstage to play an encore... Comments are the gleam in the eye across the room in a smoky bar... Comments are the rainbow after the rainstorm..." Merci for your comments! French Girl in Seattle