Je ne veux pas travailler
Je ne veux pas déjeuner
Je veux seulement l’oublier
Et puis je fume
Only three out of these sentences is true and it doesn’t take a genius to work out what I’m talking about (as an avid runner and fitness enthusiast, I stay well clear of smoke apart from when it’s part of a theatre production or a disco). That being said, this little ditty reminds me of France and the oh-so-chic woman that I often came across in Paris. It wasn’t just her nonchalant attitude and “Bof” shrug of the shoulders, it was the effortless sense of style and natural poise. She could make the simplest of outfits (striped top, jeans and flats) look elegant. Oh yes, those Parisiennes know how to dress and tried as I might, I could never quite get it completely right.
Fast forward 10 years and I’m still a huge fan of the French style and that’s why the London-based store Frenchologie has made it onto my list of “From Paris with Love”. It may not be based in the romantic City of Light but it houses one of the finest selections of French labels that I have seen in a long time. From an absolutely must-have if I ever won the lottery cotton-twill trench by Carven to a weekend jumper by Cacharel that you would wear and wear, Frenchologie lives up to this idea of fashion for life. They even stock Vionnet – a much underrated label whose namesake and founder Madeline Vionnet was said to be responsible for creating the flattering bias cut. Then there’s the clean cut designer Monographie – a youngish label packed full of items parfait for that day to evening look. With Carven collars, Florian Denicourt handbags and amazing pieces of jewellery (this Juliet Necklace by Moutton Collet certainly lives up to the idea of statement piece, Frenchologie is French design all wrapped up. As for shoes, well there are heels from Carven and JC de Castelbajac but the footwear that really catches my eye is the selection of slippers by Chatelles, which put flats firmly back on the fashion map.
For those who believe home is where the heart and design should be, Frenchologie offers a range of interior goodies. Think Maison Martin Margiela Ligne 13, coffee tables by Romain Duclos, lighting by Tsé & Tsé associées and a very quirky line of wall stickers by Domestic. Beauty fans will find body lotion by, wait for it, Ladurée and a brand of eco-conscious, organic beauty treatments called Absolution which I am itching to try out. From French art to DVDs, books and music, this is a curated space of all things French.
Unfortunately, the majority of the clothing is way out of my price range but the DVDs, books and beauty stuff offer a good entry point for those wanting a little bit of France chez vous. If you happen to be in the Covent Garden area, make your way to their shop on Monmouth Street (just by Seven Dials) or you can find out about the founders Beatrice and Cecile on their website.