Earn your stripes

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A new pairing combines Carven's cool aesthetic with Petit Bateau's high-quality basics

The fashion world seems to be in a collaborative mood at the moment, with new projects announced almost weekly. If Margiela for H&M was too avant-garde for your tastes and Marios Schwab's body-con dresses for Debenhams didn't do it for you either, then perhaps a new pairing of two French houses might do the trick.

A marriage between Petit Bateau and Carven results in everyday separates and statement dresses all featuring a mixture of the former's quality fabrics and workmanship with recognisable design features of the latter: think simple, workaday pieces but done in a modern Gallic way.

Carven, a couture house established in the Forties, has been making waves among the fashion set since the 2009 appointment of Guillaume Henry to the post of creative director. The little-known designer, whose background included a stint at Givenchy as Riccardo Tisci's assistant, relaunched Carven's ready-to-wear and made it a firm fashion favourite sported by editors and the A-list alike.

Petit Bateau boasts a more humble background but one whose roots reach back to the late 19th century. More than a hundred years later its reputation as the purveyor of staple basics in high-quality cotton is well-founded. The Breton stripe is at the heart of the inherently wearable collection, appearing on body-suits, preppy polo-shirts and collared bibs. A stand-out piece is a blue dress with white-collar detail – a dead-ringer of a version from the Carven mainline collection spotted on Alexa Chung and Emma Watson.

If the womenswear collection doesn't prove too much of a distraction, there are offerings for little ones too, with identical styles available in children's sizes. Mini-me styling opportunities don't get any chicer.

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