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.
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!