The Frenchwoman, what is she like? A question that has been much debated in literature, cinema, and online. For some, the Frenchwoman charm is completely overrated: “Elegance in jeans and a with a cotton tote bag?!”. For others, the Frenchwoman is the epitome of style and seduction. One thing is for sure: their “je ne sais quoi” (otherwise known as the elusive French charm) really exists and it gives them extra kudos. Every Russian lady has her favourite Frenchwoman. My mother is a fan of Catherine Deneuve, my best friend watches Audrey Tatou movies on repeat, and my sister cannot get enough of Françoise Sagan’s books. Here is my own list of the top 4 modern day icons of “made in France” It-girls.
Last year I randomly stumbled upon her first book “Love, Style, Life”, which proudly crowned the best-seller stand. The spontaneous purchase of the book marked the moment I discovered the world of Garance.
Garance is an illustrator turned blogger turned business woman, who has masterfully created a unique universe of her own in the space of the past 8 years. She shot street-style before this genre became a mainstream staple. She blogged before blogging became everybody’s favourite pastime. She is one of the first examples of a self-made digital star, who today runs her business from New York with a team of 12 people. She did not always have it easy, but in spite of her success (which got her in her 30’s), Garance has managed to keep her down-to-earth attitude.
She is easily approachable and very relatable. She has many self-doubts, which she openly shares with the world. And that is perhaps what makes her so charming and irresistible. I see a part of myself in her, and I love her style – the epitome of French easy chic.
The definition of today’s It girl à la française.
Her popularity grew from her personal Instagram account, helped by her killer looks (the French GQ gave her the title of the “Coolest Most Beautiful French Girl in France Right Now”). Jeanne is not just about beauty though, she has also got an amazing sense of style, which faintly reminds us of the Jane Birkin days.
I admit to being a big fan of this woman’s style: from her makeup to her apartment decoration. She is also the source of many of my outfits: self-cropped jeans, espadrilles on a platform, the polka dot dress. There is a rumour which says that Jeanne would have remained unknown if she was not Parisian – but I let you decide if you agree or disagree.
I cried when I first heard her song “L’amour en solitaire”. And yes I may be a little emotional, but this song, to me, was perfection. The voice, the lyrics, the music. Juliette has not reached worldwide fame just yet, but she is definitely an incredible talent, often compared with Véronique Sanson. And there are similarities indeed: both play the piano and both write their own music and lyrics. Juliette’s biography hides one interesting surprise: she has never received a formal musical education.
She honed her skills with her parents. She composed music and wrote poetry from a young age, but she chose theatre for her university degree. The result: 6 years as a documentaliste at the ARTE television channel.
Let me cut the long story short though: her passion for music got the best of her eventually. In 2014, Juliette wins the Les Inrocks music competition and in 2017 she releases her first album “Petite Amie”. I am taking bets that this girl will be making it to the international music scene very soon!
And while I am dreaming of just meeting those girls, Lauren is a steady part of their in-crowd.
Lauren is a journalist and the former editor-in-chief of the French ELLE. She has now launched herself in the podcast world with “La Poudre”, through which she has already interviewed Garance Doré and Juliette Armanet. With Jeanne Damas, Lauren has co-written the book “À Paris”. It is not a city guide: it is a book about Parisian women. 20 heroines from 20 different arrondissements tell their story and their favourite Parisian addresses. Lauren is in many ways a feminist.
She is an ardent supporter of the women’s rights movement: she fights for gender equality and she is unafraid to talk about the uterus. The latter is a favourite question you can hear in the interviews of “La Poudre”. The atmosphere of this podcast is remarkably intimate. And you feel like a true part of it. You want to cry, to laugh, to dream with Lauren’s guests. You understand all those ex-boyfriend stories. You are amazed with the strong political speech of very incredible guests. You are reassured that menstruation and menopause are topics, which can be discussed freely.
In fact, this podcast helps me to understand myself and my role as a woman in today’s society.
And you, what do you think of the Frenchwoman? Do you have another favourite?