A Comprehensive Guide to the Best French Style Icons of All Time

Kristen Bateman

To truly live and breathe fashion, you have to be connected with French style icons and everything that comes out of Paris.

In movies, in books, on TV, even on Instagram, Paris Fashion Week is always portrayed as an integral cultural identifier in the fashion world—if you attend the shows in Paris, you’ve really made it. And there’s truth to that statement. It’s the last stop of Fashion Month and by far the most serious and most exclusive. After New York’s too-packed calendar, London’s quirk, and Milan’s feisty glamour, the big guns of the style world—think Chanel, Lanvin, CélineDiorAlaia, Givenchy, and Balenciaga—finally showcase their collections, arguably setting the trends for the year ahead.

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Likewise, French women have an indefinable, covetable style. Something that only they can do better than everyone else: looking like they don’t care while looking extremely chic at the same time. The no-makeup makeup look? Practically invented by French influencers like Caroline de Maigret and Lou Doillon—and before them, there was Brigitte Bardot and model Capucine, both who favored a more minimal look makeup-wise.

Exclusively wearing basics like the perfect fitted blazer, jeans, and a skinny scarf, without looking boring? Ines de la Fressange and Vogue Paris editor Emmanuelle Alt do it best. It may be a bit of a stereotype, but somehow, the biggest French style influencers seem to always stray away from trends and stick with their own style signatures. Whether that signature be a black suit for Carine Roitfeld or Loulou de Falaise’s turban, these women’s looks are enviable because—not only do they seem to know what looks best for their body type—but they display an air of confidence while wearing them, too.

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Click through to see our favorite French style icons.

Originally published March 2016. Updated March 2017.

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