There’s no question that the French are a stylish bunch. Ask us to explain precisely what it is that makes them so stylish, though, and chances are we’ll respond in a flurry of clichés.
We might mutter something about “nonchalance” or “a certain je ne sais quoi”. We’ll cite New Wave style icons such as Jean-Paul Belmondo in Breathless or a trenchcoat-clad Alain Delon in Le Samouraï. We’ll invoke the image of Serge Gainsbourg, a Gauloise hanging lazily from his lips.
Needless to say, these images are about as representative of contemporary French style as a bowler hat is of the modern-day City worker. That’s why, this summer, Mr Porter has decided to look beyond the stereotypes and try to figure out what’s really going on.
With apologies to Balenciaga, Saint Laurent and Givenchy, it turns out that French style isn’t just about the runway these days. Take AMI, a young brand making accessible, everyday staples with a hint of fashion-forward cool, or Officine Generale, a brand with a reputation for well-tailored and equally well-made clothes that are cut from only the finest fabrics.
All things considered, it’s tempting to think that French menswear is having a bit of a moment
Elsewhere, there’s rakish suiting from Husbands, a Parisian tailor that takes its name from the 1970 cinéma vérité classic from John Cassavetes, and whose eye-catching, baby-blue suit can be seen in this picture.
All things considered, it’s tempting to think that French menswear is having a bit of a moment. Perhaps it is. Perhaps it’s been having one for years and we’ve only just noticed.
Either way, Mr Porter has decided it’s high time to celebrate the inimitable style of our closest European neighbours. That’s why we’ve launched Vive La France, a series of exclusive collections created in collaboration with 14 of the country’s most exciting designers. Think of it as your shortcut to Gallic chic this summer.
For more info, see Mr Porter