“Every French girl wears Isabel Marant." - W
French girls are known for their effortless chic style: just-rolled-out-of-bed, grab something from off the ground, and ready to go. But the whole look -- from bed hair to flawless skin to well-loved clothes -- is deliberate. Designer Isabel Marant's clothes help a lot. Her boheme, slouchy pieces are comfortable yet stylish. They mix easily into your wardrobe, giving a bit of on trend élan to every look.
"If you want to find out what the cool crowd will be wearing next season, there's no better place to look than the Isabel Marant show." - Nicole Phelps, style.com
"All the foreign fashion editors when they go to Paris head straight to Isabel Marant.... There is a buzz on Isabel Marant because she put her finger on how women want to dress." - Lisa Armstrong, Fashion Editor of the Times
"She creates clothes that are part of a wardrobe, not just part of a trend." - Vanessa Friedman, Fashion Editor of the Financial Times
"Hers is an aesthetic that produces clothes women want to wear without necessarily demanding mega-watt attention." - Dolly Jones, vogue.co.uk
"Marant isn’t interested in the showstopping theatrics and splashy editorial looks that high fashion favors. She does real clothes with a carefully calibrated hip quotient that’s edgy but accessible." - Jessica Iredale, W
From pirates (spring 2010) to country girls (spring 2009) and the knickknacks she buys from all over the world while traveling, Isabel gets inspiration from everywhere. Her collection is completely a reflection on herself and what she likes.
"My point of view has always been to do clothes that I wanted to wear and then show them to the press."
"My clothes are for everyday life. They are timeless and always about comfort and shape."
She has been honing her talent and tastes for 21 years, when she launched the label in 1989. But it was until 1994 that she shifted away from jewelry and accessories to designer clothes. In 1999 she founded a secondary line, Etoile, to bring more accessibility to a younger clientele.
Isabel describes her process as "down-to-earth." It is slow, painstakingly so. She is one of those designers who has been off the radar for so long that every new client who discovers her feels like they have been let in on a secret. (True she is every Parisian girl's favorite designer, but to foreigners, she is still very much an enigma.) And those who do know about her find it incredibly frustrating to be unable to find her designs. Isabel Marant is expanding slower than demand calls for. Part of it is because she does everything herself. The other part is because she wants to control the quality.
“When you have too many stores, everything is so important; if you have a failure somewhere, everything comes crashing down and everybody starts to freak out and calculate too much. And then you start to lose your soul.”
Isabel is now finally ready to launch full on in the US. Her Soho store at 55 Greene Street will in April. Shoppers from all around the world can finally find her collection online at net-a-porter.com, where it just debuted (and many pieces subsequently sold out).
But, don’t worry, just because it is easier to buy Isabel Marant’s ruched suede boots dripping with chains, or pleated peg-legged pants doesn’t mean the cool factor will be diluted. Isabel designs clothes meant to elevate individual style. This means wear the clothes as you wish, mix with what you own. You wear the clothes, not the other way around. And that is the true secret of French dressing: comfort, individuality, with just a touch of cool.
“Our clients love the laid-back, ethnic glamour that underwrites all [Isabel Marant] pieces. The great thing about her clothes is that women feel they don’t need to do top-to-toe Isabel. One piece tends to pull the vibe together for clients who don’t want to look too groomed or too 'fashion’. There is a confidence and energy behind the brand that doesn’t need to be on trend to catch our imagination.... There’s no risk involved in wearing them. You will never look like you’ve tried too hard and that’s pretty unbeatable at the moment." - Ruth Chapman, co-owner of the Matches boutiques