Each year (month?), a new French brand crosses the Atlantic. For New Yorkers, many of whom are enthusiastic Francophiles, each one provides new reason to celebrate—and shop!
The latest is Kitsuné, the fashion-music label hybrid opening their first stateside boutique today inside the NoMad hotel. The space, designed by Kitsuné’s co-owner and classically-trained architect, Masaya Kuroki, will stock custom products from Aesop and Monocle alongside its eponymous collection, and they’ll spice things up with an in-house florist, too. ”We wanted to think about being a service to the people staying int he hotel and becoming part of the life of this [up-and-coming] neighborhood,” explained Kuroki’s partner, Gildas Loaec, who called en route to Charles de Gaulle airport, on his way to New York for the opening.
So now that there’s another Gallic brand to add to your must-have shopping list, we thought it’d be a good idea to compile a primer of all things fashionable and French—an all-encompassing directory to the cool-girl labels getting you a little bit closer to Paris’s seemingly unattainable je ne sais quoi.
Le Mont Saint Michel
Founded in 1913 as a classic knitwear brand, Le Mont Saint Michel is currently better known for their kicky shift dresses and collegiate-inspired sweatshirts that are sold in specialty boutiques like Elizabeth Charles and Steven Alan, as well as Madewell stores nation-wide.
Co-founders Gildas Loaec and Masaya Kuroki, have been hawking their preppy-french wares since 2002 in prestigious stores like Colette and Barneys New York, as well as their stand alone store located in Paris’s Grand Pailais. Fabricated of luxury textiles—sourced in Japan, Italy, and France—the label’s classic styles are complimented by an impeccable fit.
The hyper-feminine, on-trend label is the vision of founder, Judith Milgrom. The brand has two free-standing boutiques in downtown New York, as well as twelve pop-up boutiques located within Bloomingdales’ stores across the country.
Iro has slowly gained an American cult-following since moving stateside in 2006. Designed by Laurent and Arrik Bitton, the label is well-loved for it’s decidedly feminine take on Parisian rock culture—offering sequined moto jackets and streamlined pumps. They’ve struck such a chord within the American market that they plan to open stores in New York and LA this year.
Founded by the three brothers responsible for the successful, mother-daughter brand, Comptoir des Cotonniers, The Kooples (a phonetic take on the french pronunciation of ‘couples’) provides a luxe, streamlined take on French basics with an emphasis on tailored blouses and menswear-inspired blazers. Their first New York store is expected to bow later this year.
Since 1984, Sandro has been churning out inherently French fashion, delivered with a distinctively mussed-up edge. Designed by Evelyne Chetrite, the label can be found on practically every street corner in Paris, but to find it stateside head to one of their two New York stores, as well as Bloomingdales mini-shops nation-wide. It’s the go-to place for a perfect white t-shirt…with a slightly ripped collar or a sweet summer dress with an unexpected edge.
Zadig et Voltaire
Erin Wasson-approved label, Zadig et Voltaire, landed in New York a few years ago, importing their rock star take on Rive Gauche attire. If you’re looking for studded skulls and skinny leather pants, go here. Their fifth US store will open on New York’s Upper East Side this May.