by Meredith Fisher
Effortless Parisian style (you know the kind) is often imitated, yet rarely replicated. But at the year-old West Village shop Ludivine, owner Ludivine Gregoire aims to give New York City girls a chance to look a bit more like their Left Bank counterparts.
Born in Provence, Gregoire came to the U.S. to work in fashion, and after putting in time at Armani Exchange and Bottega Veneta, she returned to Paris to work at Antik Batik. But she never forgot New York. "After a year in Paris, I realized how much I missed [the city]," she recalls. "So I came back with the intention of opening up my own store." Gregoire was drawn to the West Village, an area she likens to many neighborhoods in Europe where you can "get lost in the streets," and opened shop on West 4th Street. To mimic the experience of shopping in St. Germain, she imported furniture from French flea markets: a vintage mirror, old black-and-white photos of Paris, even her own mannequins from back home.
As for the French-inspired fashion, says Gregoire, "I choose designers based on what is doing well in Paris." This translates into French-girl staples from Vanessa Bruno, Claude Pierlot, and Les Prairies des Paris. "These labels are the epitome of French dressing, they're simple in style but not in fit and quality." Edgier clothing comes courtesy of Tsumori Chisato shirts, a patchwork of colors and patterns, cropped jackets from Hanni Y, and Italian knits from Golden Goose. Denim from Notify is a French favorite, and a shipment of Colette's bestsellers, A77 jeans, are also en route. But when it comes right down to it, Gregoire affirms it's more than just the labels that matter. "[For me], it's more about having style without looking like you're trying too hard."
Ludivine, 172 West 4th Street (between 6th and Great Jones), 646-336-6576, www.boutiqueludivine.com.
Owner Ludivine Gregoire re-creates a pretty little piece of Paris in her eponymous West Village shop.