Category Archives: Paris

A French Affair


Forget the Presidential love triangle; the high street is in love with France. Bag your own bit of Gallic flair with le sac du jour – the bucket bag. Update your wardrobe with the bag created by Angele Lancel in 1925.

Lancel opened her store near the lively new Opera Garnier in Paris in 1876, selling smoking accessories. In 1925 she creates the iconic bucket bag renamed the Premier Flirt in 2006.

Brigitte Bardot with her famous basket in beloved St Tropez.

Brigitte Bardot with her famous basket in beloved St Tropez.

In 1987 the bucket bag is rereleased under the name Elsa. It quickly charms millions of women to become an international bestseller for the house. I succumb to its charms buying two in different sizes.

My big Lancel Elsa bag photographed during a 2003 stay at Ma Cachette chambres d'hotes in Arlanc in the Auvergne.

My big Lancel Elsa bag photographed during a 2003 stay at Ma Cachette chambres d’hotes in Arlanc in the Auvergne. (photo – worklondonstyle)

My small black Elsa bucket bag ideal for work and short trips. (photo - worklondonstyle)

My small black Elsa bucket bag ideal for work and short trips. (photo – worklondonstyle)

Lancel reinterprets its cult bucket bag in 2006 and rechristens it the Premier Flirt.

The. Lancel Premier Flirt 2006. (photo - Lancel)

The Lancel Premier Flirt 2006. (photo – Lancel)

Lancel expresses its proximity to the French cultural background with collaborations with French icons Isabelle Adjani and Brigitte Bardot. The design elements of the 2012 BB bag respected the actress’s strong conservation convictions as all materials were environmentally friendly and the leather look required no animal hides.

The curvaceous Brigitte Bardot bag created in 2012. (photo - Lancel)

The curvaceous Brigitte Bardot bag created in 2012. (photo – Lancel)

For Spring/Summer 2014 the slouchy bucket bag is the perfect accessory. Topshop, Next, H&M, Zara and French Connection amongst others, all have affordable versions of the bag, allowing for a balance between casual and chic.

The 2014 high street version of the bucket bag from Zara. (photo - Zara)

The 2014 high street version of the bucket bag from Zara. (photo – Zara)

Phoebe Philo – Sneaking Into Work.


Paris born Phoebe Philo, creative director at Celine, received and OBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list. With fashion’s current emphasis on menswear, Phoebe is leading the way to comfort.

Phone Philo received and OBE in the New Year's Honours.

Phoebe Philo received and OBE in the New Year’s Honours. (photo-Getty)

Dressed for speed in Nike Air Max for and interview with Vogue. ( photo - David Sims

Dressed for speed in Nike Air Max during an interview with Vogue. ( photo – David Sims)

Phoebe, already credited for spiking sales of New Balance 620’s and Nike Air Max, wore Stan Smith sneakers during Paris Fashion Week last year.

Marc Jacobs sported the trainers at the British Fashion Awards, whilst other supporters include Gisele Bundchen, Rita Ora, Cara Delevingne and Kate Moss.

Philo sporting Stan Smith Adidas Originals. (photo -Pinterest)

Philo sporting Stan Smith Adidas Originals. (photo – Pinterest)

The trainers named after US tennis player, Stan Smith who won Wimbledon men’s singles in 1972, had a fashion hey day in the 90’s. More than 22million pairs were sold.

Stan Smith Adidas Originals. (photo - Adidas)

Stan Smith Adidas Originals. (photo – Adidas)

Adidas Stan Smith Originals will be available in the UK from middle January 2014 at £67 per pair.

Adidas photographed by Bella Howard.

Adidas photographed by Bella Howard.

Hermès – The Kelly, The Birkin And Other Keepsakes.


Hermès, Paris evokes images of princesses, famous actresses and the wealthy elite. In 1837 Thierry Hermès opened his workshop making quality saddlebags,  harnesses and horse carriages in the heart of Paris.

Hermes Faubourg Saint-Honore in Paris. (photo - worklondonstyle)

Hermès Faubourg Saint-Honoré in Paris. (photo – worklondonstyle)

In 1892 the prototype of the Kelly bag was used as a saddle holder. By the 1930’s it had evolved into the Sac à dépêches, a spacious travel bag. Acclaimed costume designer Edith Head, introduced Grace Kelly to the bag when she chose accessories for the actress starring in ‘To Catch A Thief .’ After her marriage to Prince Rainier III of Monaco, a photo of her with the bag appeared in Life magazine. Instantly known as the Kelly bag it was officially renamed in 1977.

Happy customer (photo -worklondonstyle)

Happy customer (photo – worklondonstyle)

Actress and singer Jane Birkin, well known for carrying her belongings in a straw bag, was the inspiration behind the Hermès Birkin created in 1984. Priced between £4,800 and £100,000, the Birkin remains a best seller of the brand.

The bag is associated with long waiting lists (up to 5 years) as depicted in the TV series ‘Sex And The City’ and the book ‘Bringing Home the Birkin: My life in Hot Pursuit of the World’s Most Coveted Handbag’ by Michael Tonello.

The trademark orange packaging. (photo - worklondonstyle)

The trademark orange packaging. (photo – worklondonstyle)

Hermès is renowned for its equestrian inspired silk scarves, bracelets, ties and watches. Last time I visited I acquired the iconic Multi-Loop Bridle bracelet.

Back at the hotel. (photo - worklondonstyle)

Back at the hotel. (photo – worklondonstyle)

The iconic Hermes bracelet. (photo - worklondonstyle)

The iconic Hermès bracelet. (photo – worklondonstyle)

Hermes in harmony. (photo - worklondonstyle)

Hermès in harmony. (photo – worklondonstyle)

Model, fashion icon and blogger Olivia Palermo says, ‘Buying my first Hermès bag was like becoming one of the tribe.’

Victoria Beckham – Pretty Powerful.


Victoria Beckham has firmly established herself as one of the most powerful women in fashion in only a few short years. Named the most talked about designer on Twitter during New York Fashion Week in September 2012, she has been recognised as the most pinned celebrity for 2013 on Pinterest, according to The Telegraph.

Victoria Beckham at New York Fashion Week. (photo - GoRunway)

Victoria Beckham at New York Fashion Week. (photo – GoRunway)

In 2007 Beckham won two Glamour Magazine Awards, one for ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ for her fashion achievements and another for ‘Woman of the Year.’ Victoria was named ‘Designer of the Year’ at the British Fashion Awards in November 2011.

Fashion week with Natalie Massenet, Diane Von Furstenburg and Donatella Versace. (photo - Rex Features)

Fashion week with Natalie Massenet, Diane Von Furstenberg and Donatella Versace. (photo – Rex Features)

Known for popularising Roland Mouret’s fitted dresses, Victoria launched her own collection at New York Fashion Week at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in 2008.

Victoria posed with Karl Lagerfeld for a photoshoot for French Elle at legendary designer Coco Chanel's home. Here she appears with Karl at Mercedes Bench Fashion week.

Victoria posed with Karl Lagerfeld for a photoshoot for French Elle at legendary designer Coco Chanel’s home. Here she appears with Karl at Mercede-Benz Fashion Week.

Former footballer, husband David with daughter Harper and American Vogue editor-in-chief, Anna Wintour at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week  in New York September 2013.

Former footballer, husband David with daughter Harper and American Vogue editor-in-chief, Anna Wintour at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York, September 2013. (photo – Reuters)

Simple monochrome designs featured heavily in her Spring/ Summer 2014 collection. Victoria looked crisp in a white shirt, tucked into cropped black trousers worn with heels.

Victoria's signature smokey-eye make up.

Victoria’s signature smokey-eye make up.

January 2014 will see VB collaborating with Skype to give us an inside look into her business. The Skype team said, “From the spark that launched her business, the innovation, collaboration, entrepreneurialism and her embracing of technology to empower creativity and to run her business from around the globe, the story of the Victoria Beckham label will be told in a previously unseen way.”

One of her most copied by the high street looks for this Winter; the cropped polo neck and trouser. (photo - Rex Features)

One of her most copied by the high street looks for this Winter; the cropped polo neck and trouser. (photo – Rex Features)

French Women Don’t Get Facelifts


Mireille Guiliano first came to our attention when she famously invited Oprah to come stay with her to learn the secrets of why “French Women Don’t Get Fat.” This former CEO of Veuve Clicquot, the LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton-owned Champagne house, launched a new genre of French ‘savoir faire.’

Mireille Guiliano's new book

Mireille Guiliano’s new book ‘French Women Don’t Get Facelifts’. (photo – Grand Central Publishing)

Subsequent publications included the “French Women Don’t Get Fat Cookbook”, “French Women For All Seasons” and her business sense and sensibility guide, “Women, Work & The Art of Savoir Faire.”

Mireille Guiliano

Mireille at a signing for “Women, Work & The Art of Savoir Faire.”

Guiliano shares her time between Manhattan, Paris and Provence. The 60-something writer attributes the youthful staying power of the French to their individualistic style and attitude. She says, “The difference is the U.S. is a ‘youth’ culture. France is not. Literally, here you are old after 30 and not in France. There is still respect for women in their 50’s.”

She writes, “Certainly in France, a woman in her forties and fifties is still alluring and seen as an object of desire and acts the part. She feels it and acts it, but doesn’t pretend she is ageless.”

#bookshelfie - Mireille in her apartment in Manhatten.

#bookshelfie – Mireille in her apartment in Manhatten.

A few tips from her book: 1. Attitude is key – Mireille calls attitude ‘the magic pill’ responsible for the major difference in youthful appearance of French women. Love and laughter save the day. 2. Dress for the age you are now. She says “Girlish looks for matue women are not something French women are keen on. With today’s choices, one does not have to dress old at any age.” 3. Less is more for makeup. “Once your face has noticeable wrinkles, don’t even think about makeup and moisturizers with glittery particles that draw attention. C’est tout.” 4. Eat “face friendly” food. This includes lots of vegetables, good protein, honey and a little bit of what you fancy; including chocolate and a glass of champagne. 5. Respect your skin. Moisturise religiously. France is a country of creams and treatments, often bought from the local chemist. Use preventative measures like UV protection to slow down the clock.

Mireille Guiliano

Mireille Guiliano

“French Women Don’t Get Facelifts” is published by Grand Central Publishing on 24 December 2013. It has already been named a Wall Street Journal best book of the year.

Mulberry – The Delevingne Factor


British handbag and clothing brand Mulberry has set its sights on international expansion. Established by Roger Saul in Somerset in the south west of England in 1971, Mulberry has built a reputation on its dedication to craftsmanship and tradition. This balanced with a nose for high fashion and practicality has ensured it cult status when it launched the now iconic Bayswater in 2002. Named after the leafy West London neighbourhood, it was originally available in Oak, Chocolate and Black. Its success has seen new colours and finishes sent down the catwalk year on year.

The Mulberry Bayswater (photo - worklondonstyle)

The Mulberry Bayswater (photo – worklondonstyle)

With 123 stores and a market cap of £604m The Rookery, Mulberry’s original factory, could not meet demand. The second factory in Somerset has been completed and will run to full capacity by mid 2014. The Rookery has been the only leather goods factory of its size in the UK.

The Bayswater requires 12sq ft of leather. (photo -Mulberry)

The Bayswater requires 12sq ft of leather. (photo -Mulberry)

Bags are designed in the London studio. The entire process from pattern making and prototyping to fine tuning can take up to 28 weeks. Considering material qualities, it takes one skin to make one handbag. The Bayswater requires 12sq ft of leather. All off-cuts are used in smaller projects and recycled. Bags are handmade. Cutting, skiving, handle making, splitting, spraying, inking, ironing, stitching and folding are overseen by largely locally sourced and trained craftspeople.

The launch of the Alexa, named after British model, TV presenter and style icon, Alexa Chung, drew A-list stars to Mulberry’s catwalk shows. The design is derived from the Elkington, Mulberry’s Classic men’s briefcase.

Alexa Chung with the Alexa bag and the original Elkington which inspired it. (photo -Mulberry)

Alexa Chung with the Alexa bag and the original Elkington which inspired it. (photo -Mulberry)

American singer Lana Del Rey inspired the Del Rey bag featured in the 2012 Autumn/Winter campaign. Cara Delevingne, British model of the year for 2012 is the current face of the brand.

Mulberry launched the Cara Delevingne range at Claridge’s in London on 16 February 2014. It is hoping to revive it’s flagging bag sales; drawing on the model’s millions of international followers.

Cara Delevingne photographed by renowned British photographer Tim Walker (photo - Mulberry)

Cara Delevingne photographed by renowned British photographer Tim Walker (photo – Mulberry)

Chief executive Bruno Guillon has said plans to open 15 new stores were on track. A flagship store is set to open on Paris’ Rue Saint-Honore in 2014.

Guillon has repositioned Mulberry from an affordable to a luxury brand, with 36% of sales derived from bags priced over £1000 compared to 4% in 2012. Creative director, Emma Hill’s departure has left room for new direction.

Vintage Mulberry - The Roxanne. ( photo - worklondonstyle)

Vintage Mulberry – The Roxanne. ( photo – worklondonstyle)

Investment in prominent tourist destinations such as Asia and North America saw pre-tax profits down by 28% to £7.2 million, in the six months to 30 September. Revenues were up 2.1% to £78.1m with like-for-like growth of 4%. International retail sales were up 29%.

Research has shown that Asia Pacific is posed to be the biggest market for luxury goods by 2018. In readiness for the harvest, now is the time to invest. It is a costly process, but with the local market close to saturation, the promise of rich pickings may well justify investment in multinational expansion.

The Cara Delevingne backpack. (photo-Reuters)

The Cara Delevingne backpack. (photo-Reuters)

Isabel Marant Tees Up At H&M.


French born Marant was destined for a career in fashion as her German mother was the director of Elite model agency. Originally harbouring dreams of becoming a vet, she launched her fashion career in 1990 with Twen, a knitwear collection, collaborating with her mother.

The designer Isabel Marant wearing her own tassel boot design for H&M. (photo - H&M)

The designer Isabel Marant wearing her own tassel boot design for H&M. (photo – H&M)

Having studied at Studio Bergot, the Paris fashion college, she set up her studio in 1994 in the Marais district and opened her first store in the Bastille district in 1998. Known for her star ‘i’ logo she launched a more accessibly priced line ‘Etoile’ in 1999. Her high street collection for H&M, originally showcased in Paris in September, launches in London on 14 November.

The French debut of Isabel Marant for H&M

The French debut of Isabel Marant for H&M

Marant is her own muse and of her collection for H&M she says, “I realised that the best thing to do for H&M would be the pieces that I love the most”. She says, “I always wear a t-shirt. And most of the time I wear a sweatshirt.”

Alek Wek wearing leather trousers by Isabel Marant for H&M (photo- H&M)

Alek Wek wearing leather trousers by Isabel Marant for H&M (photo- H&M)

Her rock’n’roll, relaxed handwriting is often seen on models including Kate Moss, Alexa Chung, Miranda Kerr and Elle Macpherson.

Miranda Kerr in Isabel Marant. (photo- Rex Features).

Miranda Kerr in Isabel Marant. (photo- Rex Features).

Elle Macpherson in Marant.  (photo - Rex Features).

Elle Macpherson in Marant. (photo – Rex Features).

Isabel Marant for H&M will include an exclusive menswear collection. The launch event in Paris was a sell-out and is expected to be one of the fastest-selling H&M collaborative collections since the start of the initiative in London.