It seems like a cliche, but the French brand Sandro is très chic. Hundreds of books and thousands of articles have been written about this intellectual, cool ‘Parisian’ look but it’s Sandro that seems to sell it without ever going to near a beret of a Breton top. Effortless in that insatiable and yet indefinable way of Jane Birkin, sexy in the manner of Brigitte Bardot and slick in the schooling of Catherine Deneuve - Sandro is evidence that the myth of French style is real.
In Sandro stores in London, all over the UK and Europe, even in the dark depths of the Sandro sale section at the end of the season, it’s hard to miss the niche that the label has carved itself. ‘My husband and I created Sandro in 1984’, recalls founder Evelyne Chetrite. ‘When we launched it, there wasn't anything like it in France. There were the designers at one end and then cheap department stores and not much in between. We were the only fashion brand which was investing in this niche market between luxury and mass market, the affordable luxury segment didn’t exist before.’ Only now after the birth of social media is this space widening with labels like Kitri, Self-Portrait and Rixo pushing at the edges of this gainfully sought out market.
For the French fashion label, it's clothing, not trends that at are at its core. ‘The Sandro look is chic, androgynous but yet feminine. The Sandro woman is confident and independent. She is looking for beautiful, modern and original pieces,’ explains Chetrite. This Sandro woman likes laces dresses, blazers, silk tops and wool fitted coats. She shops at multi-brand boutiques and has probably visited, or would like to, visit the brand’s first standalone shop in the fashionable Le Marais quarter of Paris. ‘Each piece has a different story, there’s not one magic recipe’, reveals Chetrite, ‘One of our biggest strength is that we listen to what our clients really want to wear. I believe it’s crucial to feed from customer’s feedback and understand better their needs.’ She sums it up as wanting ‘to be as near as possible to the real girls’ desires.’
What does Chetrite think the French look is? ‘It’s more of a lifestyle and a chic nonchalance’ she says, ‘where women do not really care too much, unfazed by what is dictated as appropriate for a certain time of day. They search more to express their own individuality than to strictly follow the trends. French dress to feel good, not to show off.’ She adds: ‘The Parisian woman has a “je ne sais quoi” that makes her style very special, casual but always chic, sophisticated but cool. The Parisian is more a concept: the number one rule is to keep the things that work well on you, well-cut basics that work for sure. And never try too hard, or make sure it doesn’t look like you’ve spent hours working on your outfit, even if you did.’
6 Sandro Dresses That Sum Up The Paris Look: