December 7, 2023

Sitting exterior at Gemma, the restaurant on the Bowery Resort in Decrease Manhattan, Jeanne Damas supplied a textbook instance of what many may name French-girl model.

She was sporting a camel trench coat over denims, and her brown hair and bangs seemed naturally tousled, as if she had woken up that means. Her seen make-up consisted principally of pink lipstick, which had pale right into a extra natural-looking tint. On cue, a waiter approached to ship her a black espresso and a croissant.

It was a Wednesday morning in September, and the final day of New York Style Week. Ms. Damas, 31, had arrived from Paris the day earlier than.

Later that night, she could be opening a brand new retailer in Manhattan for Rouje, the style model she based in 2016, which has turn out to be identified for feminine basics with a Parisian sensibility. Not lengthy after she began the model, GQ called Ms. Damas “the best, most lovely French lady in France proper now.” French Vogue has described her as “the Paris lady personified.”

Rouje, which began as an e-commerce enterprise, has expanded steadily into brick-and-mortar retail. The New York retailer, on Broome Road in SoHo, is its first in america; seven others have opened in Britain and France, together with in London, Paris and Bordeaux.

As Rouje has grown, Ms. Damas stated, she has made few adjustments to its aesthetic, which has all the time been rooted in her personal wardrobe. “I by no means actually modified my model since my teenage years: a pair of denims, an outsized jacket, ankle boots and a wrap costume,” she stated.

She first grew to become acknowledged for her model by running a blog about it. (Considered one of her earliest followers was the French designer Simon Porte Jacquemus, who, after connecting with Ms. Damas on-line, had her model for his brand.) On Tumblr and afterward Instagram, she’d put up photographs of herself on Paris’s cobblestone streets and in outfits that have been typically accessorized with a glass of pink wine or a swipe of pink lipstick. Her fondness for pink lipstick, she stated, impressed her to call her model Rouje.

Although Rouje has been knowledgeable by Ms. Damas’s private style, it’s arduous to not see similarities between her sensibility and that of the singer and actress Jane Birkin, who died in July. Ms. Birkin was British, however for a lot of got here to epitomize an effortlessly elegant and notably French model. With Rouje, Ms. Damas, a local Frenchwoman, has commoditized her model of that model — and has positioned herself and her model to turn out to be new standard-bearers of the French-girl look.

Ms. Damas was lately solid to painting one other French-born style muse — the jewellery designer Paloma Picasso — in “Kaiser Karl,” a forthcoming Disney+ TV series about the fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld. Jérôme Salle, the director of the collection, stated Ms. Damas has “a French model however with a contemporary magnificence.” She was a pure match, he added, to play a girl whom Mr. Salle, 52, described as a former “it lady” in France.

Delphine Courteille, 48, a hairstylist in Paris who has labored with Ms. Damas, stated different shoppers have cited her as an aesthetic inspiration; particularly her coiffure, which Ms. Courteille described as “very Parisian” and all the time with “Jane Birkin-style” bangs.

“There’s a whole lot of femininity and lightness that makes girls need to be like her,” Ms. Courteille stated of Ms. Damas.

Dhani Mau, 34, the editor in chief of the web site Fashionista, stated Ms. Damas’s digital presence (she has 1.5 million followers on Instagram) has helped to convey French-girl model, and the references that encourage it, to a wider viewers. “Earlier than you needed to watch French movies, discover images or go to France,” Ms. Mau stated. The truth that Ms. Damas is commonly seen sporting Rouje garments on social media, Ms. Mau added, has helped affiliate the model with the French-girl look.

Additionally useful in advancing that affiliation have been photographs of the French actress Léa Seydoux wearing a red, printed Rouje wrap dress on the set of the James Bond movie “No Time to Die.” “She had our pink costume and we didn’t know,” Ms. Damas stated, including that after these photographs circulated, she began to see Rouje on “numerous actresses, particularly in France.”

Along with dresses (beginning at $220), Rouje sells tank tops ($60), T-shirts ($70) and jeans ($185), the forms of simple fundamentals favored by Ms. Birkin. Camille Charrière, an influencer in London who’s half French, described such objects as an indicator of French-girl model.

“The French love their fundamentals,” stated Ms. Charrière, 36, who’s a contributing editor at Elle UK. “The entire level of French model is that it’s one thing gradual that you just construct over time.”

Isabelle Chaput, 33, a French style photographer and content creator who lives in Manhattan, stated that the desire for fundamentals stemmed partially from a resistance to maintaining with traits. “Parisians don’t need to appear like they’re making an attempt too arduous,” she stated.

Ms. Damas used the phrase “simplicity” to explain the attraction of French-girl model. “Generally,” she stated, “it’s boring.”

She stated that whereas Ms. Birkin has had an affect on her and on Rouje, “the model isn’t about copying.” She described her strategy as much less about replicating a particular wardrobe than making garments that evoke a sure way of life. “It’s not the costume itself, however the life you will have within the costume,” Ms. Damas stated.

Her tackle the look has been influenced by model exterior of France, she added. Some slip dresses she has made for Rouje, she stated, have been impressed by clothes she noticed girls sporting when she visited New York years in the past.

“It’s humorous as a result of me and my inventive staff should not actually impressed in France, then we come right here and we’re impressed by every thing,” Ms. Damas stated.

“Ladies in New York are extra audacious with their seems which, in my view, is liberating,” she stated.

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