Natasha Edwards, The Daily Telegraph, February 25, 2014
New York is the commercial one, London the one for up-and-coming talent, but when it comes to "the shows”, and to fashion, we will always have Paris. Designs from the city’s houses influence shapes, colours and fabrics season in and season out; this is a city where clothes are deemed just as much works of art as the Canalettos, Rodins and Gauguins on display in art galleries. The shows themselves might be off-limits to all but the elite fashion press and international buyers, but there is style on the streets of the city for lesser mortals.
Here is our pick of the best places to shop for fashion in Paris, as chosen by Natasha Edwards, our city expert.
Natasha Edwards describes the women’s branch of this shop as “an art installation in itself, with cascading planks of wood by Belgian artist/architect Arne Quinze.” Around the gallery-style interiors, seek out the “adventurous but wearable” clothes and experimental accessories.
Address: 40 rue de Sévigné, 75003
Contact: 00 33 1 48 87 10 22; leclaireur.com
Natasha Edwards rates this men’s boutique, which now has branches on the Left and Right banks, for the quality of its fabrics, including “fine cotton shirts, pure wool jackets and a large range of knitwear” as well as its made-to-measure service.
Address: 9 rue Madame, 75006
Contact: 00 33 1 42 84 31 66; melindagloss.com
These are hoes as only Parisians can do them. Robert Clergerie sells “almost sculptural” ladies’ shoes, ranging from brogues to heels to boots; Natasha Edwards describes them as “sexy but walkable” and “beautifully made”. They do not come cheap, but will last an age.
Address: 8 rue de Grenelle, 75006
Contact: 00 33 1 42 22 15 97; robertclergerie.com
Youthful Parisian cool is filtered through a whole floor devoted to modish trainers, labels such as Sessun and Pepe jeans, and a nail varnish dispenser at Citadium, a circular department store in the central 9th arrondissement. Polaroid cameras and American snacks complete the offering from a shop to which Parisian teenagers – and tourists in the know – flock.
Address: 50 rue Caumartin, 75009
Contact: 0033 1 55 31 74 00; citadium.com
Oh, Printemps. This glorious art deco domed building is impressive enough from without, but step inside to discover “every fashion label imaginable”, says Natasha Edwards. The department store is actually divided into shops for women’s fashion, home and beauty, and menswear; head to the female section for more lingerie than you could wear in a lifetime, a diverse shoe department, and French labels you never knew existed.
Address: 64 boulevard Haussmann, 75009
Fashion designer Prouenza Schouler has designed a collection available exclusively at Le Bon Marché. Photo: Le Bon Marché
Le Bon Marché
Those with a smattering of French will know that this department store’s name means “cheap” or “a good bargain”, but you will not find many items that could be described as such in this wonderful Left Bank shop. That said, it is wonderful to wander in its white art deco interior, sniffing the expensive perfumes and watching the monied clientele. It is great for labels, especially when it comes to shoes, that you will seldom find elsewhere. Head to the “grand epicerie”, arguably the best deli in the world, for delicate rounds of Camembert and miniature pastries.
Address: 24 rue de Sèvres, 75007
The woman who launched ten billion high street rip offs of her peasant blouses, cowboy boots and wedge trainers still rules the roost when it comes to casual Parisian dressing. Vogur girls are said to swear by her linen T-shirts; the suede booties can be (and are) worn night and day; the cropped jackets terribly cool. Look to the “Etoile” diffusion line for more affordable pieces.
Address: 16 rue de Charonne, 75011
Contact: 0033 1 49 29 71 55; isabelmarant.com
These recommendations, and hundreds more, can be found in the free Telegraph Travel Guides app . The app features expert guides to destinations including Paris, Rome, New York and Amsterdam.