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Talk: The French Style

Culture |

Talk: The French Style

On Monday 3rd July, Le Bon Marché welcomed five women under the Bookshop’s canopies for a unique conversation about the myth of the French woman. Caroline de Maigret, Sonia Sieff, Lauren Bastide and Jacqueline Ngo Mpii, who sat around Sophie Fontanel, took turns to give their point of view and share their experiences as French women in order to better understand the fascination that they hold all around the world.

Revivez la conversation en vidéo

What do Caroline de Maigret, producer and author of the “How to Be Parisian Wherever you Are” guide; Lauren Bastide, a journalist and creator of the feminist podcast La Poudre [Powder] who wrote a book on the Parisian Woman with her co-author Jeanne Damas; Sonia Sieff, the photographer who wrote “Les Françaises”; Jacqueline Ngo Mpii, the founder of Little Africa, a cultural space and guide on the African presence in France, and Sophie Fontanel, a journalist and author, all have in common with any other French woman? How does the French woman define herself? What is unique about her? Where does the mystery surrounding her come from? How does she blend style and a laid-back attitude?

Each of the speakers, who personify the French woman and are experts on the subject in their own way, spoke about her place in the history of style, the eclectic mix of characteristics, her connection to sexuality and the persistence of the myth in order to reveal the features which characterise her, highlight her paradoxes and try to reveal the art of being a French woman. In the end, they all agreed that, rather than a style of dressing, what defines her is an attitude, a way of living by breaking away from convention, and that the best way to describe her, as Sophie Fontanel pointed out, is using Sonia Rykiel’s words: she is “evasive and contradictory”.

"The French woman is evasive and contradictory." Sonia Rykiel

In her self-published book "City Guide Afrique à Paris", Jacqueline Mpii Ngo unveils her favorite African addresses in Paris. Another aspect of the Parisian !

Caroline De Maigret, Anne Berest, Audrey Diwan and Sophie Mas disclose with wit and humor the Parisian best-kept secrets in their book "How to be a Parisian Wherever you are".

Women of our time bare all in front of Sonia Sieff's camera : sensual and poetic pictures gathered in the book "Les Françaises".