Style File: Paris match

The French invasion of the premium high street continues thanks to Claudie Pierlot, but this is no young pretender, says Emma Akbareian

There’s something about French style. It’s not a slender frame or a penchant for Breton stripes, rather something far less tangible; that je ne sais quoi  that it doesn’t do to dissect too closely. Call it an insouciant attitude to clothing if you will, but an ability to simultaneously look amazing and like you haven’t tried very hard is a skill widely coveted but rarely mastered.

The best the rest of us can do is to attempt to recreate the look, which is why the Parisian label Claudie Pierlot is one to add to the fashion phrasebook. Not actually a new brand, in fact Claudie Pierlot celebrates its 30th birthday this year, but thanks to brand expansion with multiple new stockists and store openings in London, the secret is out on these shores.

Founded in the 1980s by the eponymous Pierlot, the label made its name selling quintessentially French designs. In 2009 the designer passed away and the brand found a fitting buyer in SMCP, which owns fellow Gallic-style specialists Sandro and Maje.

Now under the creative direction of Vanessa Pierrat, a former designer at Sandro, the brand has established its niche. You won’t find anything overly trendy or try-hard in store. Rather, the focus is a luxurious take on essentials; a white shirt with embroidered collar details, for example, or a classic black leather biker jacket and of, course, the trusty Breton. For spring there are nods to the mood of the season with a dominating colour palette of ice-cream pinks and pastel blues.

Prices are appealing, too; although a step up from most British high-street offerings, it sits comfortably with premium labels such as Whistles and Reiss, making it a natural choice for special-occasion dressing. It shouldn’t be overlooked for everyday wear though – on a cost-per-wear basis, Claudie Pierlot could become the new workhorse of your wardrobe.