PARIS–As I stood under a doorway at Couvent des Cordeliers, the ancient convent in which Isabel Marant held her Spring 2011 runway show, a crowd gathered outside huddled under umbrellas, waiting to enter. Like me, most of the women were wearing Isabel Marant: her classic grey sweatshirt, a tunic, a pair of boots. Unlike me, they were predominantly French, and predominantly cool, mostly because of the way their messy hair was tied up in effortless chignons, and the ease of their sweatsuit ensembles.
Isabel Marant’s clothes embody the modern, cool French woman. And that’s why she’s been such a success in the US. Marant, Vanessa Bruno, Paul & Joe…these are all brands we Americans covet because they allow us to emulate French chic. We’re obsessed, even if our blowouts and J Brand jeans do give away our true nationality.
Ironically, Marant’s spring collection was dedicated to a certain American era: The early ’80s days of hip-hop, when girls wore shrunken baseball jackets, hoop earrings, and mesh netting. Mixed in with these heavily-influenced looks were more classic styles, including a few rugby dresses and some calico floral frocks.
Of course, it was all paired with Marant’s signature heels and boots, sure to sell out as soon as they hit the sales floor.
And for die-hard fans of her sweats, Marant didn’t disappoint. A grey sweatshirt near the end was accented with black leather, sure to be priced at $200 +, and sure to be gone in a blink. Here’s to Isabel Marant for making us all a bit cooler.