Hello, fashion girls—ugh, we mean, bonjour! It's a well-known fact that Paris is the fashion capital of the world and the city of love (read: love for clothes, bags, shoes, and all things fashion). It has been the lieu de naissance of excellent fashion houses—institutions, for that matter—where fine RTW and couture pieces are crafted to perfection. As an effect of such strong heritage and culture, a lot of common fashion terms used almost everywhere around the world are in French.
Herewith, a crash course on these de rigueur terms:
-workshop or studio
How to use it in a sentence: "Karl Lagerfeld presented the Chanel F/W 2016 couture collection in an atelier setting with the skilled seamstresses at work in the background."
How to use it in a sentence: "If you want to be a successful couturier, you should consider going to a fashion school."
À la mode
How to use it in a sentence: "Well, it seems like off-the-shoulder tops are still à la mode!"
-handmade or custom-made clothing
How to use it in a sentence: "It was amazing seeing every little detail of all the haute couture clothing at the Lanvin exhibit in Paris!"
ILLUSTRATION Gab Gutierrez
How to use it in a sentence: "Shopping for vêtements is probably the ultimate stress reliever."
-experimental; unusual; unconventional
How to use it in a sentence: "John Galliano's avante garde designs for Dior gave an eccentric edge to the legendary fashion house."
Seasons (Because you can't refer to your favorite designs without knowing which collection it came from!)
- Le printemps: spring
- L'été: summer
- L'automne: fall
- L'hiver: winter
Je ne sais quoi
-Google this phrase and you'll see the definition: "a quality that cannot be described or named easily." Yup, this is why we envy French girls—they have a certain kind of cool!
How to use it in a sentence: "Most will agree that Jane Birkin is an underrated It girl with je ne sais quoi."
ILLUSTRATION Gab Gutierrez
-This literally means "trick of the eye." In fashion, it is used to describe items with seemingly real designs.
How to use it in a sentence: "Have you seen Gucci's trompe l'oeil dresses? I thought those sequined bows were real!"
-required in order to be fashionable
How to use it in a sentence: "Iris Apfel is living proof that a good sense of style will always be de rigueur. No one likes a clothing horse!"
Pièce de résistance
-the most remarkable feature
How to use it in a sentence: "The pièce de résistance of her effortlessly cool outfit are clearly those killer white sneakers."
-a common French phrase meaning “very pretty”
How to use it in a sentence: "Elie Saab’s latest kids’ collection was très jolie!"
Got all that? Now go brush up on your français. Bonne journée!
Gifs and illustrations by Gab Gutierrez