Are all French women born with an innate knack for glam dressing? Perhaps. But for the rest of us there’s one place in Paris you shouldn’t miss for all the French basics to make ‘effortless’ dressing easy. The cult French favourite e-shop Sézane has a brick-and-mortar boutique that’s one of the best-kept addresses in Paris. A gift for understanding the heart's desire has made L'Appartement Sézane (1 Rue Saint-Fiacre, 75002 Paris) one of the most Instagram-worthy places in town.
Sézane is a French brand I love so much, that every time I walk past I just have to pop in and browse for a breath of creativity. The store doesn't try to cater to all, but it does truly understand the Parisian spirit. The owner has put a lot of energy into creating her own world, right in the middle of the Sentier tailoring district. It's an old building with a truly heavenly interior, which makes the store feel like a cosy little home.
Founder Morgane Sézalory created the brand in 2013 as a portmanteau of her name. She was always interested in fashion, fabrics and colours, and began her foray into retail by selling second-hand clothes from London on eBay. She then started to create her own designs, focusing on perfect cuts and construction. By operating completely online, Sézane was able to cut production costs without sacrificing quality – passing savings directly on to shoppers. The label was an instant success. After several years as online-only shop, she had the idea of opening an offline lifestyle store in the heart of Paris. There’s a selection of goodies in the Take Away boutique (for instant gratification), or you can check out and try on pieces from the brand’s current collections, then place an order directly at the boutique. Your purchases will be shipped and delivered straight to your home or hotel in 48 hours – for FREE!
I love Sézane's unique retail approach – each item of clothing has its own special style with an air of cool French hipster look. After browsing a while, I discover that most of the items don't follow mainstream fashion trends. They don't have sales but I'm struck by the quality of the clothing at such a reasonable price.
Although Sézane mainly sells women’s fashion and accessories, there is also stationery and a variety of home products, such as shopping bags, notebooks, mobile phone covers and candles – all in attractive designs at a reasonable price.
Sézane has become a flagship store representing the Parisian joie de vivre. The owner understands the individuality of Parisians – they love life, and seek quality but they're not interested in big brand logos. She has built an entirely new local lifestyle store, full of unique products: You can find Indian handicrafts such as beaded photo frames, Italian-style candlesticks from the 1940s, Japanese glazed porcelain and British colonial-style teak home furnishings. They launch a full fashion theme twice a year in September and March, and every month brings new accessories. This summer, the collection centred on a trip down the breezy Italian Amalfi coast.
Parisian style is casual and laid back with a touch of creativity. Concept stores and big brand names are passé, what people want now is small independent stores with an innovative approach. It's also worth mentioning the manufacturing process – all Sézane leathergoods are produced and finished in France and Italy, and all fragrance products are made in the south of France.
There’s even a private Art-Déco cinema hidden downstairs – access by invitation only, but if you ask nice enough, you might be able to sneak a peek...
1 rue Saint Fiacre, 75002
Opening hours: Wednesday to Saturday, 11 AM to 8 PM,
Pictures: Brandie Raasch, Writer: Lucy Lu