15 Need-to-Know French Designers for Cool Girl Style
Achieving French-style status — i.e. dressing impeccably and carrying yourself with confidence — is something many of us have on our to-do lists. But curating your wardrobe to truly reflect your sartorial sensibilities and lifestyle takes time. So if you want to snag a little of said French style right this second, picking up a few pieces from these 15 up-and-coming French designers isn’t a bad place to start.
1. Le Stockholmsyndrome: Rosina Therén and Lousie Helldorf’s label, Le Stockholmsyndrome, plays to a woman’s duality. Their modern, sensual designs pay tribute to the female form, while bold, unexpected details like geometric cuts and bright graphic prints are as vibrant and complex as the wearer. Though each piece has a fresh, contemporary feel, they also boast a timeless elegance.
2. Jaquemus: Sighted to be the next Margiela, this young fashion-school dropout is making his mark on the fashion world with his signature deconstructed, yet refined designs. Often looking to childhood experiences for inspiration, he infuses each piece with a level of naïveté, playfulness and undeniable personality. Bold, strong, yet totally casual, this label is most definitely for the woman who wants to stand out.
3. Ambrym: A desire to create a label that reflects her values — France-made, organic materials and classic aesthetics — is what drove Gabrielle Gérard to start her brand, Ambrym. Bright colors, funky prints (all custom designed and printed in Paris) and tribal and Japanese influences are translated into contemporary, urban pieces that have a distinct, lighthearted vibe.
4. Post Diem: With a name like Post Diem, it’s no surprise that sustainability is at the heart of this French label. Emilie and Jessica, the duo behind the eco-conscious brand, make a point of keeping production local and looking to low-impact treatments and organic and recycled materials to create their modern, bohemian pieces. The brand looks beyond trends and focuses on creating a line that has a unique identity and story to tell. They draw inspiration from their origins and the motifs, embroidery and details of Mediterranean cultures.
5. Les Expatriés: Les Expatriés takes a unique approach to design that is both open-minded and chic. With plenty of international experiences under their belts, Marie-Charlotte and Pauline, the forces behind the brand, use culture, identity and individual experiences to bring each and every piece to life. This is a label with the adventurous, travel-loving and curious woman in mind.
6. Vanina Escoubet: Flirty, feminine styles that are anything but fussy are what Vanina Escoubet is serving up under her eponymous brand. The pieces are perfect for everyday wear, but boast some serious versatility that’s game for both the office and a night out.
7. Eple & Melk: Poetic, Nordic and urban are just a few of the words that describe Eple & Melk’s signature style. Sophisticated, but totally not stuffy, these are the types of threads that fit with almost everything on your agenda, from work to nights out with the girls and serious weekend chillin’.
8. Raphaëlle H’limi: With a resume boasting some of the biggest names in fashion, like Christian Dior and Emilio Pucci, designer Raphaëlle H’limi is no joke. Her designs are modern, graphic and bold (a little wild even), while still maintaining a strikingly feminine feel. If the bright colors and sharp tailoring aren’t enough to grab your attention, the fact that everything is designed and manufactured right in France will.
9. Sarah Sumfleth: After graduating from one of the top design schools in France, Sarah Sumfleth worked for Solstiss, a company in Northern France specializing in lace for haute couture. Her love affair with traditional French lace became the inspiration for her eponymous line of contemporary sports-chic clothing with a delicate, feminine flair. Sumfleth takes traditional fabrics like jersey, silk, cotton and lace and transforms them into unique pieces that each woman can wear her own way.
10. Maison Martin Morel: So technically this label has been around for over a hundred years, but hear us out. Established in Lyon, France in 1896, Maison Martin Morel specialized in textiles, all of which were designed and printed in-house. In 1986, the company closed its doors, with all of its striking designs destined to be forgotten forever. Three decades later, in 2013, Emmanuel Foyatier, descendant of the founder, rediscovered the family’s archive. The brand was reborn out of Foyatier’s vision to use the historic yet strikingly modern prints to create a contemporary ready-to-wear line characterized by one-of-a-kind designs and a fusion of both past and present.
11. SMK: You might already be familiar with SMK’s standout paper bag-inspired clutches, but there’s so much more to Sandra Meynier Kang’s label than stylish accessories. Each season, the designer takes on a challenge that aligns with her values, like reducing chemical components of production, using organic fabrics or partnering with environmental or human rights associations. The results are gorgeous collections of elegant yet casual clothing that respects the environment, as well as our desire for pieces that fit within the context of our everyday lives.
12. Margaux Lonnberg: After being catapulted into the fashion world by Garance Doré, blogger-turned-designer Margaux Lonnberg launched her eponymous brand in 2014. The made-in-Paris label is a fave of Lou Doillon and Charlotte Gainsbourg, and offers approachable, versatile pieces that have a distinct France-meets-West-Coast vibe: sophisticated, unfussy and subtly sexy.
13. Lespard: Playful, fresh and authentic are what Lespard is all about. Inspired by the vibrancy of the contemporary French lifestyle, the brand is bursting at the seams with flirty, feminine pieces that are made for sipping espresso at sidewalk cafés, exploring cobblestone streets and spending leisurely afternoons at your favorite art gallery.
14. L’Herbe Rouge: Sustainable development, organic fabrics, responsible production and a fair price are the core values driving L’Herbe Rouge. The company creates high-quality basics that challenge the way we consume fashion. They focus on functionality, versatility and form, as well as aesthetics.
15. Jour/né: Designed with the urban, active and modern woman in mind, Jour/né offers clothing that combines both simplicity and creativity. The brand has a mid-century sports-chic vibe with punchy colors, which add a fun, youthful touch to each and every piece. Cleverly thought-out elements like invisible zippers, magnetic fasteners and strategically placed pockets speak to the brand’s impeccable attention to detail.
Do you have a favorite up-and-coming designer you think the world should know about? Tell us about them in the comments!