23 Best French Fashion Brands: Clothing Brands For Parisian Style
Obsessing over French style – and, in turn, French fashion brands – is a national past-time. Whether it’s grown-up icons like Françoise Hardy and Ines de La Fressange or fresh stars such as Lily Rose Depp or Jeanne Damas, there seems to be something French women instinctively know about putting together a look. From Emily in Paris’ twee ensembles, to the sort of French style that has more in common with Call My Agent!, we can’t get enough of it all.
Although of course we know this is a sweeping generalisation. Not every French citizen knows how to pair a blazer and ballet pumps, or team a ditsy print tea dress with espadrilles and insouciant ease. Some of the oldest design maisons were founded in the City of Light, so it’s understandable that great style stems from Paris with all its history and heritage but, not every French woman has access to handbags that cost more than a car… yet they still look incredible.
How? By filling their wardrobes with excellently sourced basics… Fast fashion is so not chic and French style revolves around the classics. Slouchy white T-shirts, crisp shirts, those blazers, trench coats and impeccably cut jeans. Instead of swaying to new trends every season, mid-range contemporary brands that offer a little *zhuj* are the go-to for chic French women. Look across the channel for your own style inspiration from GLAMOUR’s edit of the ultimate French fashion brands. And while you might not be able to pop over to France IRL, you can find all these amazing brands online.
This label’s ‘Born in Paris’ provenance won’t get lost in translation – Sezane’s commitment to sustainability is clear. All leather goods are vegetable-tanned, a more responsible process than traditional methods that use heavy metals, and they are FSC certified. But more than that, their designs have a vintage vibe that makes them timeless. The antithesis of throwaway fast fashion.
Cult doesn’t begin to cut it when describing Simon Porte Jacquemus’ designs. The 31 year old has perfectly distilled the minimal mood of the moment with his cut-away dresses, going out-out tops and oversized blazers. And mini-bags – icons already.
APC (AKA Atelier de Production et de Creation) was launched in 1987 and has been the go-to brand for elegant French style staples ever since. If you’re craving the simplicity of a uniform, you’ll find the ultimate versions of the classics right here.
After spending her early career working in vintage shops, Evelyne Chetrite set up Sandro in 1984. Her vintage experiences still influence her designs with considered fabrics, unusual prints and beautiful embellishments all hallmarks of Sandro’s individual style.
One of our favourites for finding bouclé tweed jackets, suits and tailoring that never feels stuffy, Maje was founded in 1998 by Moroccan-born designer, Judith Milgrom.
What French brands do brilliantly is veer away from cheap, throwaway fashion and focus on well-made styles with longevity – but which are never boring. Claudie Pierlot fills this sweet spot.
The fold-up Le Pliage bag was the original bag-for-life before the phrase was even invented. Now this French accessories label is introducing more sustainable processes, with recycled and upcycled materials, all in an array of joyful colours and silhouettes that make carrying your essentials far chicer.
Everyone knows the impact of Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel’s game-changing approach to women’s fashion… From Breton tops, comfy jersey fabrics, the LBD and the iconic double CC logo, maison Chanel is responsible for some of the most important innovations in fashion’s history, a mission continued today by current creative director Virginie Viard.
From eponymous founder Yves through to current creative director Anthony Vaccarello, Saint Laurent has always looked to popular culture, political and societal change for inspiration. These classic pieces never look staid but are wear-forever investments.
Founder Pierre Balmain introduced full silhouettes and neat jackets after World War II and during the Sixties, Balmain dressed socialites, royalty and celebrities but it’s under the creative direction of Olivier Rousteing that Balmain has risen to the ranks of super brand. Those classic tropes are still there but reimagined with extra glamour, sexiness and power. It’s not a coincidence fans are nicknamed the ‘Balmain Army.’
The French mail-order brand is known for causing a stir over its Instagram-able interiors collections but they also do clever fashion collaborations while the own-label designs are next level chic.
Since 1946 the heritage maison, founded by Christian Dior, has created truly iconic fashion classics. With Maria Grazia Chiuri at the helm, this continues, but there is a feminist slant to her creations and the house aims to bring the spotlight on artisans and craftspeople around the world.
French women never look out of style and that’s because they concentrate on building a wardrobe that transcends the trends. BA&SH designers Barbara Boccara and Sharon Krief and united in their vision of creating a brand with “freedom and joyful elegance” (at not inaccessible price points.)
Echoing the bohemian mood of their big sister brand, See by Chloe is easy to wear and sweetly chic. The bags are our consistently on our wishlists…
Another label that follows the mood of their mainline sibling, Etoile is GLAMOUR’s go to for slouchy sweatshirts, oversized blazers, bohemian dresses and love-worn details on denim.
With a little more rock chick edge than other French brands, IRO is inspired by the edgy, artistic scene of the Left Bank – rather than the sunflower fields of Provence. If you’re into the glam grunge trend, look no further, the label’s pieces focus on classics reimagined with a rock-chic twist.
Founded by three brothers in 2008, it makes sense that The Kooples major on menswear influences and androgynous tailoring, which French girls wear so well. A classic French styling trick is to take something boyish and team it with an ultra pretty piece for a quirky contrast. Try a waistcoat with a silky slip skirt and heels…
Although this label was founded in 1937, the iconic shoes still look ultra-fresh and offer the perfect finishing touch to any simple look. Style icons including Catherine Deneuve, Brigitte Bardot and Queen Elizabeth II have all worn Vivier and their neat pumps, with signature oversized buckle, will be a forever purchase.
Blogger turned artistic director of Musier, Ann-Laure Mais founded her brand in 2018. With an aim for the collection to be 100% Made in France, a focus on local suppliers and manufacturers, the designs have timeless French appeal in spades.
Blazers over slip dresses, camisoles with jeans… these outfits sound super simple but that pared back ease is what defines French style. At Zadig & Voltaire you’ll find all the most useful foundation pieces to build chic outfits from.
Paco Rabanne defined 1960s space age chic with super-sized sequin mini-dresses and innovative chainmail creations. Fast forward to 2023 and with Julien Dossena as creative director, Paco Rabanne is back at the top of the fashion pack’s wishlist. By echoing the mod mood of the archive, Dossena has also made it completely right for right now and the collection is full of glamourous after-dark options. Emily Ratajkowski is a fan.
Beyond being a French fashion brand, Carel (founded in 1952) is the dernier cri for chic Mary Janes. The Kina style has been much imitated but we think the originals are the best.
From blogging as a teen to being described as “the most beautiful French Girl in France” by GQ, Jeanne Damas’s own label reflects her personal style. A dash of something boyish, something feminine and vintage-inflected… Et voila. Nothing fussy or too ‘done’ appears in the Rouje collections yet we love it all.
Read more from Glamour UK Fashion Director at large Alex Fullerton here or follow her on Instagram @alexandrafullerton