13 French Lines We Love
It’s to be expected that the birthplace of couture would also spawn the most celebrated, legendary-in-their-own-right modern brands. Here, we’ve rounded up the ones that have become our go-tos. (And for more Paris shopping, don’t miss our guides.)
At barely 10 years old, IRO is relatively young, but it’s already amassed a loyal following who pretty much buy out the skinny jeans, chunky knits, and slouchy dresses as soon as they hit shelves. The appeal can be chalked up to founding brothers Laurent and Arik Botton’s deep roots in the music industry, which also explains their knack for churning out some of the best moto jackets (now available in kid sizes, too) around.
If you’re in the market for flawlessly constructed ballet flats (first developed by special request for Brigitte Bardot back in 1956), patent leather tux shoes, or perfect t-strap heels, Repetto is a sure thing. What many don’t know, though, is that their collection of saddle and bucket bags is just as good as the shoes.
Dating all the way back to 1889, Lanvin is defined by its rich history, which is why Alber Elbaz, who’s been running the Parisian brand for the last 15 years, has taken great care to stay true to original founder Jeanne Lanvin’s sculptural, deeply feminine aesthetic.
A.P.C. was kind of the first to break the whole Japanese raw and selvedge denim thing. Taking cues from military uniform design, the jeans are tailored, minimalist, and meant to last—all elements that have been the brand’s signature since the late 80’s. And it’s that very consistency that makes A.P.C. one of our go-tos: We can always rely on it for a great pin-tuck blouse, striped knit, or streamlined peacoat.
In addition to singlehandedly spearheading the wedge sneaker phenomenon, what gives Isabel Marant (and diffusion line, Etoile) clout is the fact that the Paris-born designer herself is just really cool, meaning that she always predicts what equally cool girls will want to wear next. Her relaxed aesthetic is best illustrated by each season’s offering of hippyish, but not too literal, bohemian blouses, blanket coats, and tiered mini skirts.
This cult-y French chain is designed with couples in mind (hence the name), meaning that the cool, tailored separates have unisex appeal. What’s more, the real-life couples who inspire and buy the clothes also model them in seasonal campaigns. Clearly, Alexandre, Laurent, and Raphael Elicha, the three brothers behind the line, have learned a thing or two from their parents, who are the brains behind French mega-brand, Comptoir des Cotonniers.
Back in the early 50’s, when couture was really the only option, Chloé founder Gaby Aghion revolutionized daywear, making beautiful, quality garments accessible to a wider market. To this day, the Chloé look is categorically French: romantic, easy-to-wear shapes, muted tones, and faintly retro details.
Pierre Hardy—who honed his craft at Christian Dior and Hermes before breaking out on his own—is one of GP’s favorite shoe designers, and it’s pretty easy to understand why. His signature color blocking and geometric flourishes are simple and sculptural, but pretty rad, too. We’re especially obsessed with this season’s crop of chunky, architectural sandals (and you can get them half off).
This French supermarket chain does a lot more than groceries. They have great kids clothes, plus respectable and simple basics, like pretty perfect cotton striped tees. (And at really kind prices.) The lingerie section is every French girl’s best-kept secret.
Carven was founded in the 1940’s as a beloved but not particularly booming couture house. As of late, designer Guillaume Henry has revitalized the brand, all thanks to well-cut silhouettes and playful, slightly off-kilter prints. He’s recently handed over the reigns to design team Alexis Martial and Adrien Caillaudaud, but not before firmly establishing Carven as a modern-day classic.
Like many storied fashion houses, Givenchy got its start in couture, and quickly became responsible for launching a whole generation of style icons, dressing everyone from Audrey Hepburn to Jackie O. Now, with Riccardo Tisci (and Julien Macdonald, Alexander McQueen, and John Galliano before him) breathing new life into the clean, tailored silhouettes, it’s still very much a go-to.
As its name suggests, this Paris-based sneaker line is helmed by twin brothers Maxime and Alexandre Mussard. Luxury is literally in their blood (they happen to be members of the Hermès family), so it makes sense that the kicks are constructed from lush suede, satin, leather, and velvet. They also have a great buy one, give one philanthropic mission that helps kids in need. The type of shoe donated depends on the specific needs of the region and each pair is made in a way that supports the local economy.
With a frill-free clothing line, countless collaborations, a successful music label, and two Café Kitsuné locations under its brand umbrella, Maison Kitsuné is the epitome of a lifestyle brand. Set up back in 2002 by Gildas Loaëc and Masaya Kuroki (longtime producer for Daft Punk and architect, respectively), the brand marries fashion and music to truly great results.