When you think of fashion in the City of Light, images of classic black dresses from Chanel, haute couture creations by Dior, and YSL pantsuits probably come to mind. While those grandes marques are still staples in the Parisian fashion scene, a hipper, younger style sensibility is so worth checkin' out, as well. Commit this phrase to memory: the bobo look.
Short for bourgeois-bohème, bobos are artists, designers, musicians, and other creatives who epitomize a certain je ne sais quoi sense of Parisian nonchalance and cool. Think of French It Girls like Lou Doillon, Clémence Poésy, Charlotte Gainsbourg, and Léa Seydoux, and you’ll understand the edgy, casual-chic look that has infiltrated Parisian style. Here, we’ve compiled a list of some of the city’s most winning boutiques and brands — located in some of the hottest bobo neighborhoods — where you can find the perfect flowy dresses, lively patterns, and vintage-inspired shoes (at price points much friendlier than Rue Saint-Honoré).
Les Petites — Founded in 1992 by Isabelle Benichou, this label combines boho influences with retro-chic glamour. The name — French for “the little ones” — was chosen by Benichou to represent the brand’s soft, emotional sensibility. The bevy of chains situated throughout Paris features everything from romantic, flowing dresses to edgier pieces. We suggest stopping by the Rue des Martyrs locale, which is just steps away from the breathtaking Sacré Coeur cathedral. Afterward, head south and check out the très branché (French for “hip”) terrasse at Hotel Amour, the hangout of choice for Paris’ in-crowd.
Sessùn — The brainchild of Provence-native Emma François, Sessùn combines delicate, vintage influences with fresh, urban style to create clothes that embody effortless Parisian chic. Inspired by François’ travels through South America, her personal music selection, and her favorite films, the line features color-drenched dresses, high-waisted shorts and skirts, stylish peep-toe wedge heels, and playful accessories. The brand has one store in Paris, which is located on a fashionable section of the Rue de Charonne in the vibrant up-and-coming 11th arrondissement.
Sessùn, 34 rue de Charonne (between Rue des Taillandiers and Rue Keller); Paris; 00 33 01 48 06 55 66.
Antoine et Lili — With its bright pink and apple-green doors, this colorful boutique is tough to miss. The brand’s flagship Canal St. Martin address is a true bazaar of clothing, cute accessories, kitschy decorations, and more. For those looking to fit in with the local art scene, vintage-y T-strap heels, retro wrap dresses, and printed foulards abound. After decking yourself out à la Amélie Poulain (parts of the hit 2001 movie were filmed along the canal), take a stroll through this creative and trendy neighborhood.
Antoine et Lili, 95 Quai de Valmy (between Rue des Récollets and Rue des Vinaigriers); Paris; 00 33 01 40 37 41 55.
Photo: Via Les Petites; Via Sessùn
The Kooples — Known for its fierce ads featuring super-hot couples, The Kooples is a staple among young, hip Parisians. Founded by the Elisha brothers — the same ones behind the highly successful Comptoir des Cotonniers brand — the line features classic, luxurious pieces marked by a more hardcore vibe (such as their signature skull detail) — the perfect mélange of Parisian chic and edginess. The Kooples boutiques are present throughout Paris, but we suggest the Rue Beaurepaire location in the middle of the very bobo 10th arrondissement.
Zadig & Voltaire — The ne plus ultra of haute street fashion, Zadig & Voltaire — the posh French brand founded by Thierry Gillier — houses threads that come with that “I don’t care” attitude that's so hard to find on your own. Even trendsetters like Charlotte Gainsbourg and Vanessa Paradis have been spotted showing off some of its rock-'n’-roll–inspired wares. Stop by its boutique on the corner of Rue des Rosiers and Rue Pavée in the Marais. The area is filled with must-see bistros, shops, and winding cobblestone streets.
Isabel Marant — Undeniably the queen of the high-end boho, Isabel Marant epitomizes ultimate Parisian cool with her diverse textiles, slouchy shapes, and funky designs. Particularly known for her über-trendy wedge sneakers, Marant also crafts loose-fitting knits, minimalist dresses, and blasé trousers that are incredibly popular among artsy Parisiennes. With boutiques in several locations across Paris, we recommend visiting the Rue de Saintonge address in the Marais neighborhood, which is also home to some of the city’s most avant-garde art galleries.
Isabel Marant, 47 Rue de Saintonge (at Rue de Normandie); Paris; 00 33 01 42 78 19 24.
Photo Via Zadig & Voltaire; Via The Kooples