Wednesday, 13 October 2010

‘Easy clothes for difficult women’


Vanessa Bruno’s new store opens tomorrow at 1a Grafton Street, W1, something to get excited about methinks as we have been too long deprived on this side of the Chanel!  Vanessa Bruno is a designer who understands the effortless soft-edged style of the 'new school' of French dressing.  This 'new school' is a welcome breath of fresh air in my opinion.  Some of you may remember my post earlier in the year ranting about 'playing it safe' French style.  Well, Carolyn Asome in The Times backed me up today;

 "After years of dull elegance, French women and labels are shedding their conservatism to embrace a new look.  The greatest disservice that Coco Chanel may have done to her fellow country women was to issue the style mantra: “Elegance is refusal.” She meant this as a refutationof all things superfluous. Her fellow country women took it as a rejection of anything new, quirky or daring. It explains why French women for generations clung ardently to a de facto outfit of trench coat, white shirt, ballet pumps, silk scarf and a safe bag.
Elegant? Sometimes. Boring? Mind-numbingly so. In forsaking experimentation for an out-dated ideal of elegance, French women became, for the most part, a nation of staid dressers. That les femmes Françaises were setting trends avidly was a myth largely propagated by Hollywood and Audrey Hepburn, whose chic ensembles in Paris-set films such as Charade and Funny Face were widely admired....."

Now I will happily go three rounds in the ring with anyone who has a go at Audrey but lets's not forget that the outfits we admired were largely in her wonderful films where she often had the helping hand of Monsieur Givenchy and the rest of us mere mortals could largely only imitate.

 So apparently the French have a new way of doing things and spearheading this movement is Vanessa Bruno, the 43-year-old blonde designer who's clothes are understated and effortlessly stylish..  She describes her clothes as “easy clothes for difficult women”— presumably she means demanding. They have become a byword for the predominantly neutral wardrobe staples of many Parisian hipsters. But don’t underestimate the ability of Bruno’s creations to make a statement.

“There always has to be an edge, but it’s a soft edge,” she says. “It’s not aggressive. It’s important to still retain that sense of femininity.”

Being feminine to Bruno is important. French cover girls, rarely sacrifice feminity on the altar of unflattering trends. “I think that’s surely a French thing,” Bruno says. “British designers do cool and edgy but they aren’t clothes that are necessarily elegant. It’s the way you appropriate an item that really counts.”

Bruno may reveal a little flesh in a top but can add a lace insert so that a décolleté is covered yet subtely revealing. “That’s the key to the way these French girls dress; there’s a bit of that idea of a ‘Chic Parisian’, but it’s not classic in a dusty way. They will break up the tailored silhouette with the unexpected; a top with a hint of sparkle, a sexy shoe, the appeal is all in the suggestion. I’d never consciously design something that was too retro: clothes always need a modern twist.” I couldn't agree more.

1.Clemence Poesy and the Kaiser and 2. Virginie Mouzat, fashion director of Le Figaro
Geraldine Saglio, stylist at French Vogue.
"Hurray, Vanessa Bruno will now be available in LONDON!"

N.B. This below is for my darling friend and little sister who has moved here recently. Miss you!


  1. Cracking post. Love Geraldine Saglio's sense of style.
    Tu me manques aussi! x

  2. love the way you articulated this piece-- and great title too! nevertheless, french chic is always a winner with me

  3. Wow! Thankyou both, much appreciated. Not knocking French style by the way, the classics will and always should have a place but it doesn't hurt to experiment a bit! Fashion should be fun! x

  4. We have the same way to see fashion, for me classics and basics are very important.


Thank you so much for taking the time to read my waffle. Every single comment is appreciated x