It’s French week at Romantique and Rebel and we will be dedicating our posts trying to unlock the style recipe of French women. Think Marion Cotillard, Vanessa Paradis, Brigitte Bardot or Audrey Tautou. They all possess this girly, effortless charm, that je ne sais quoi. They are not all dolled up, bronzed up, acrylic tipped, hairsprayed and injected but seduce with natural make-up, hair and understated chic.
Meet Bérengère, a lovely friend and colleague from work who kindly agreed to let us in the secrets of French women in this in depth interview. Enjoy!
Bérengère in a casual Friday travel outfit before jumping onto the Eurostar
1. Who is your style icon and why?
I don’t have a specific style icon as I am finding inspiration in different people, brands etc. My style is a whole mix and I can’t say I love everything in one icon. For example, Audrey Hepburn’s style seduces me by her elegance and class. I think the most important style is the way you wear your clothes. People should be able to be dressed with anything, the most important is to keep an elegant attitude . This comes from posture, delicacy, simplicity. I was a grand fan of Brigitte Bardot as well as she was quite provocative for her time: she was the 1st person who has dared to wear close-fitting short pants to highlight her body and also the 1st lady to wear ballet shoes. Brands such as Somewhere, Tara Jarmon or Sinequanone mean something for me and make me think directly of elegance, joyfulness and naturalness….
2. How would you describe your style?
My style is a mix of romantism and classicism, with some flashy colours for a more original touch. For the summer, I love artistic, geometric patterns on a top or dress, tunics and skirt with colourful stripes or the shirt “mariniere” (Breton Shirt) , round boat necks or vichy gingham checks with wedge espadrilles. For winter style, I prefer high heels boots, with a wool dress and a leather jacket to break up the classic and give it a modern touch. I often use also accessories to complete my style: original colourful dangling earings, belts…
3. In terms of style, Russian IT-girls are easily recognizeable by their opulent outfits, British people are famous for their unconventional quirky style and French style icons like Vogue editor Emmanuale Alt are often associated with a minimalistic, typical French chic. Living in London, do you agree with this description, do British people dress differently compared to the French? And what are these differences?
London is a capital where people from all around the world come together, so I think now, the distinction between the styles is not totally obvious even if it does exist (when you pay attention to…)…Globalization gives the possibility to find any shop such as Zara from Spain, Sandro from France, Victoria Secret from US etc…Now anybody is influenced even if you can still see a difference. It’s quite hard to explain…ahaha 🙂 I will try:
British people will prefer some colours or patterns which are quite different from french: yellow, brown, orange against more neutral colours: pastels, beige, blue..French often wear some soft colours whereas British tend to wear more distinctive colours. British will go for more original patterns such as bends, cats etc…ours will be more geometric (stripes, rounds etc…) than a significant drawing…
4. The questions every lady would like to know: How do you stay slim and fit? Do you follow a special diet or workout regime?
I am not that slim ahahah 🙂 but I try to do my best daily…If for example I go for a cake, or ice cream, then I will have a lighter meal during the evening. I go at least 2 times a week to gym: running outside, or weights at gym, swimming…
I often eat proteins and green vegetables only in my meals. If I go out, I will try to only drink, gin, champagne or cider… This year is exceptional for me, and I have a personal trainer who is the best coach ever to get me prepared for my wedding.
5. What kind of make-up (i.e. mascara or lipstick) do you use for every day and for when you go out?
I am very specific with make up as I could not use something else for example. I am very loyal to my combination. I think natural make-up is the best. I always use tinted medium BB cream, with some terracotta bronzer on top and a small touch of pink blush on my cheeks. Black Volume mascara from l’Oreal. For my eyes, a light line of violet or brown eye pencil. This is perfect for a blond girl rather than a harsh black line which can be too aggressive for a blond girl. I bought my eye pencils at a French pharmacy and it’s the best kajal ever! :-). (Bérengère uses Mavala eye pencil in “Violin”, Mavala lip pencil in “cassis” and lipstick from Rimmel in colour “heartbreaker”).
My colours for a lipstick are something between the red and the pink from Clarins or Rimmel .I will only tone down a little bit of colours on my lips for everyday, and will emphasize it a little bit more when I go out…with a touch of light, fresh, sweet and lime parfume !
Bérengère is wearing: Blue scarf from Zara, denim shirt from Topshop, ballet pumps with kitten heel and cigarette trousers, Bérengère’s tip to make legs look slimmer and longer.
6. What are your favourite clothes shops in London and Paris?
I am a big fan of Sinequanone, Tara Jarmon, Sandro, Mage, Comptoir des Cotonniers in Paris… In London, I often go to Zara, Gap, Benetton, FCUK (French Connection), Whistles, LK Benett and Elizabeth Arden.
7. You live in London, can you recommend your favourite restaurant or cafe in the city?
I love the Angle Sea bar in South Kensington with it’s nice terrasse
In terms of restaurant, La Bouchée in South Ken, for “the escargots de Bourgogne à l’ail”
I don’t have a favourite coffe place, but I love to sit with my Latte in a big confortable leather sofa to talk with friends….
8. Do you have a life motto or philosophy you live by?
Carpe Diem! Live and enjoy every day.
Bérengère likes to accessorise: Mosaic bracelet from the markets in Camden, turqoise ring from Gucci, blue scarf from Zara.