We all buy clothes, but no two people shop the same. It can be a social experience, and a deeply personal one; at times, it can be impulsive and entertaining, at others, purpose-driven, a chore. Where do you shop? When do you shop? How do you decide what you need, how much to spend, and what's "you"? These are some of the questions we're putting to prominent figures in the fashion industry with our column, "How I Shop."
Some people might think that growing up with a fashion editor mom would be a one-way ticket to an easy career in the industry, but Julia Restoin-Roitfeld isn't your typical fashion-family progeny. (She does, however, possess a killer sense of style — more on that later.) The model, art director and founder of blog Romy and the Bunnies, is busier than ever, fresh off the heels of collaborating with Grey Goose on a holiday pop-up store, Le Marché Bleu, which she curated. Restoin-Roitfeld chatted with Fashionista on some of her favorite brands and places to shop stateside and in her hometown of Paris, plus her signature style and beauty must-haves.
Tell us a bit about your personal style.
I think my personal style is pretty classic and inspired by my Parisian upbringing. I definitely take my style inspiration from the major icons of the 20th century — Brigitte Bardot, Romy Schneider. I wear mainly neutrals and black throughout the year and I really don't see the point of following trends – I like what I like! I've had some of the same classic staples in my closet for years and they still work for me! I think the most important thing is to have quality basic clothes. I will then add on fun and feminine touches depending on my mood and the occasion.
How do you personally like to shop? Are you more into online or in-store shopping?
I am definitely more of an online shopper. It's amazing to have access to so many incredible, young designers at our fingertips. It used to be so hard to discover new forces in the industry but thanks to the internet, the landscape has become much more democratized. The internet has really changed the way I shop. It's also so much more convenient! I just don't have the time anymore to wander around stores and shop. I really wish I did though! I think the experience is totally different and I love forming relationships with people at my favorite stores and brands.
The holidays are obviously such a major shopping season, and you had a pretty fun role in it this year, partnering with Grey Goose and curating a seasonal market, Le Marché Bleu. What was that like?
I had a great time hosting and curating the Le Marché Bleu in New York. As a French brand, Grey Goose shares many of the values I hold dear – commitment to quality and a deep respect for terroir (note: literally meaning "earth" or "soil," but figuratively referring to the sense of a specific place). I also love the holiday season. I spend a lot of time thinking about what to give my friends and family over the holiday season, so coming up with items for Le Marché Bleu was right up my alley! In choosing the items, I drew on my French upbringing and tried to pick unique products that would make them stand out as an extraordinary guest at holiday parties. Grey Goose was a great partner simply because they gave me so much creative freedom and responsibility.
What are some of your favorite stores here in New York or in Paris for you to shop?
Around the holidays, I try to make more time to shop in stores. I love seeing the holiday decorations and it gets me in the festive spirit. But during the rest of the year when I'm in New York, I shop a lot on Net-a-Porter simply because I don't have that much time to shop in stores. It's easy and they really do have everything!
In Paris, it's a different story because I'm usually there on vacation visiting friends and family, so I have more time to relax and enjoy. I love going to Le Bon Marché: They have all of my favorite French brands in one place! I also love wandering through the Marais. One of my favorite stores in the area is the famous candle store Cire Trudon. It smells amazing and I love picking up gifts there for friends. Their candles are pretty hard to find in New York so I always buy a bunch and even took some back for Le Marché Bleu. Another favorite Parisian store is La Grande Épicerie where I buy La Maison de la Truffe. Like a lot of French people, I love truffles and will use them in a lot of my cooking – even cocktails! I've started making a really delicious holiday cocktail with Grey Goose and truffle oil from La Maison de la Truffe called "Truffe d'Hiver."
Your mother is such a icon in the fashion industry. How did growing up surrounded by fashion affect developing your style?
As a teenager, I really wasn't into fashion — I was [more] into music. Still today, everyone thinks I am all about fashion, but really, I don't feel this way. Like I said, my style is pretty classy; I am never hunting for the latest trend or must-have. I know it might sound boring to all the fashion people, but that's the way I am. I like to dress for myself and feel pretty in what I wear without thinking if it's the latest trend or not.
You're also a mom to your beautiful daughter, Romy. Where do you shop for her?
I also shop for my daughter's clothes online! I love Crewcuts, H&M and Zara Kids for her. I love finding clothes for her that reflect our French-American background. I actually had a hard time finding what I was looking for, which is what inspired me to create my own line of children's clothes with River Island. I drew from what I wore growing up to create the line.
What are some of your all-time favorite brands in fashion and beauty?
I think Chanel is one of my favorites as it's simply timeless. It looks great on 20-year-olds as well as 80-year-olds. Otherwise, I'm not necessarily super loyal to any particular brands over others, but I do have staple pieces that I love and wear over and over again. I have a super soft cashmere dress from Equipment that I wear all the time. It's so easy and versatile – I dress it down with Manolo [Blahnik] ballet flats or dress it up with thigh-high boots from Stuart Weitzman. I'm also obsessed with Reformation. Their clothes pretty much epitomize my style with clean lines, wonderful tailoring, pretty muted color palettes. They are at a very accessible price point too, which shows that great quality clothes don't have to break the bank. Plus, I'm a big proponent of their sustainable manufacturing policy!
Regarding accessories, I really love Olympia Le Tan's clutches. Olympia Le Tan's work definitely reflects the changing French fashion landscape as a whole – I think we see designers opening up and becoming more playful. She started an amazing new line of clutches incorporating literary figures, which I fell in love with. We actually featured her "A Christmas Story" clutch at Le Marché Bleu, which was super popular!
What does the word "style" mean to you?
It means to feel great in what you wear, and to dress for yourself first.