As everyone knows, French women, especially the Parisiennes, know a thing or two about style. Whether you want to imitate their famously naturally elegant hair, their sophisticated clothes or their incredible skills in the kitchen, here is how. LUXOS shares the French capital’s ultimate style secrets.
Adopt the Parisienne look
Obtaining the perfect Parisienne look isn’t always a given, sometimes we can all do with a little help. And this comes in the form of rails of designer clothes to pick from, of course. The Elss Collection, a bright, all-white showroom a few steps away from the Champs Elysees is where the insiders go to rent their outfits. Buying is over – sharing is the future. Key pieces from Ralph Lauren, Michael Kors, Milly, Alberta Ferretti, Kenzo, Carven, Halston Heritage, Sophie Theallet, and Alexis Mabille hang temptingly. All from the latest collection, there’s something whatever the occasion, from red carpet event to office function or wedding party. With style advice built in, a nice cup of tea and luxurious surroundings, away from the usual chaos shopping involves, it’s a treat to slip into something beautiful. The concept? Pay a monthly fee and borrow from the clothes ‘library’ as often as you wish, two pieces at a time. One-offs are possible too, with a service set up for hotel guests and visitors, able to pay on a piece by piece basis for up to four days. It’s the smartest solution for those who claim to have nothing to wear... Monthly subscription from €180 www.elsscollection.fr
Go for ‘effortlessly sublime’ hair
“The key is to be sublime, without looking like you made the effort” says Thibault at the exclusive and very chic John Nollet salon set within the Hyatt Vendome. Nollet, known as the hairdresser to the stars, looks after the mane of illustrious ladies like Monica Belluci, Audrey Tautou and Vanessa Paradis. Tucked away in a suite on the 1st floor, this is purely for those in the know. The ambiance is cosy, with a little terrace overlooking the courtyard, a beautiful red velvet lined Louis Vuitton trunk for storage (hiding all manner of delights – from products to a range of accessories), a comfy black leather armchair and behind a mirrored wall, the one and only hair-washing station, where one lies down on a leather meridienne for a relaxing shampoo. With room for only 2 clients at a time, it’s definitely exclusive. Thibault works his magic for an hour and a half, and it’s fair to say this is the first time I’ve walked out of a cut with a smile. Dare I say it? It’s mission accomplished. I look like a movie star, who has just fallen out of bed. Result. From 200€ for a wash, cut and dry. From 1000€ with John Nollet himself. www.johnnollet.com
Get a killer ‘Made in Paris’ Accessory
Accessories count, and what could be better than a ‘Made in Paris’ piece to give your look that extra authenticity and touch of cool? It’s the perfect limited edition, one-of-a-kind, wearable art. Do it yourself and book a Brunch Bag Painting workshop with Kasia Dietz, a bag designer (who is American but has the Parisienne style down to a T!) in St Germain. A fun and creative morning will leave you with the finest souvenir of Paris: your very own canvas bag creation. It’s also the occasion to discover one of the area’s most charming little cafes, the Café 13 on Rue des Saints Peres. Not feeling creative? Kasia also has a superb collection of bags and clutches for sale, including a Parisian inspired series of shoppers, like the tres chic Rive Gauche or Rive Droite totes for those who want a piece to remember the city by. Brunch Workshop from €120per person. 2-6 participants. Including brunch. www.kasiadietz.com
Learn to cook at The Parisian Kitchen
The Parisian Kitchen
Stepping into Benedicte Mesny’s Parisian Kitchen is like coming home, if your home were bright, beautiful and terribly well organised. Having left behind a career in luxury marketing, this young mum welcomes you for private cooking classes in her swish abode just off the Parc Monceau in the 17th. A slice of real Parisian life, and some family secrets are on the menu. The course is fun, cosy and Benedicte’s cooking aspires to be approachable, offering classics like Macaroons, fruit tarts and the (what I thought to be tricky) soufflé for those choosing the ‘pastry’ course. There are also full menus available, with a lunchtime trip to the nearby Marche Levis. Thanks to Benedict’s tips and supervision, a soufflé is not so ‘complique’ after all and as we chat, eggs are separated, whipped, folded into chocolate and fifteen minutes after they hit the oven, the delightful ramekins re-emerge, double the size and simply delicious. The caramel sauce (from scratch of course) is another new feather in my cooking cap. The food, the company, the lovely feeling of making something without any pressure under watchful eyes – it all makes it rather hard to leave, but leave I must. Happily, a bag of homemade Breton cookies makes the experience last all the way home...
Be seen in the right spots
Paris is embracing the cocktail craze with gusto so don’t miss the boat, and hang out in one of the capital’s many swish drinking holes – from the Plaza Athene’s bar home to famous mixologist, Thierry Hernandez or at Le Ballroom or Le Fish Club in rue Jean Jacques Rousseau, both hotspots from the team behind the Experimental Cocktail Club and the Prescription Cocktail Club. Our favourite? The legendary, if tiny, bar at Le Mathis, where Diego and Pascal man the bar with plenty of charm and style. A hint of louche, heaps of elegance and the feeling you’re sipping the finest cocktails in one of Paris’ secret hideyholes. www.hotelmathis.com