Paris is undoubtedly the fashion capital of the world. To observe the never-ending catwalk along the streets of the rive droite’s Marais and the left bank’s Saint Germain is to be reminded of just how stylish the city’s residents are. It’s no wonder that iconic French designers including Christian Dior, Coco Chanel, Hubert de Givenchy and Yves Saint Laurent found their muse in Paris’ ethereal beauty, dressing some of the most haute Parisiennes. Modern-day designers followed suit, inspired by the elegance of the city and the casually composed attitude towards fashion that is so characteristically French.
Made in Paris Fashion
A select few of these dedicated designers continue to create and produce their wares locally, a Made in Paris fashion label proving that high style can also be sustainable. Many of these artisans create their samples and often complete collections within their boutiques-ateliers.
One of these artisanal designers local to the Haut Marais is Mari Samvelyan of Koshka Mashka. Designing timeless womenswear in limited edition collections for over twelve years, Mari’s refined aesthetic blends French femininity with a modern twist, emblematic of her European roots. Each of her custom creations including denim trench coats and luxurious shearlings can be tailored to fit by the designer herself. Koshka Mashka’s signature jeans quickly become a staple in every fashion savvy woman’s wardrobe, while her new shoe collection completes the outfit.
Another fashionable address in the 3rd arrondissement is Anika Skarstrom. Swedish-born and Parisian inspired, Anika was one of the first Paris-made designers to set up shop in the Haut Marais, even before it became the local designer hub. Anika’s deconstructed separates dressing both women and men combine to create timeless fashion-forward ensembles. Step into her buttery leather pants paired with a cashmere top and a merino wool overcoat, and you’ll understand the definition of Parisian chic.
Womenswear designer Samy Chalon learned his craft by working with Chloe, Kenzo, and Eres. Since opening his shop in 2006, Samy has become known for embellishing classic striped shirts with vintage scarves, creating unique statement pieces. Each shirt, dress, sweater and skirt, the latter most recently incorporating vintage scarves, are handmade in Paris, with samples produced in his shop/atelier.
Housed for over a decade in the 11th arrondissement, Parisian designer Kate Mack attempts to define the various moods of the femme fatale with her signature one-of-a-kind cowl neck sweaters, A-line coats and hooded gowns, crafted in an array of colors. Most often inspired by women on the streets of Paris, Kate describes her style as blending feminine with edgy and romantic, resulting in wearable art. The Kate Mack boutique is also where she creates and custom tailors each bespoke piece.
Moon Young Hee
Korean-born designer Moon Young Hee opened her boutique MOONYOUNGHEE in Paris’s right bank in 1994, which also serves as her workshop. An outpost in the left bank followed in 2015. Moon combines her Asian heritage with Western influence, playing with forms and proportions while maintaining a refined aesthetic. Her contrast of fabrics including cotton, silk and leather, blend masculine with feminine, often resulting in unisex styles. Asymmetrical designs and structured sleeves are omnipresent in Moon’s collections.
Across the river, designer Charlotte Bialas is dreaming up feminine collections of silk tops and elegantly casual dresses in vibrant vintage prints. While her limited-edition collections are made in Paris, her signature cashmere sweaters are sustainably crafted by a Scottish supplier working with nomadic farmers in the Gobi Desert. Most recently Charlotte introduced a Japanese-inspired ready-to-wear collection including bags and necklaces made of vintage kimonos.
Kasia Dietz is a freelance writer and handbag designer from New York who leads bespoke fashion tours and bag painting workshops. Kasia writes about life in Paris and travels beyond on her blog loveinthecityoflights.com and contributes to magazines and sites including France Today, Evening Standard, The Independent, Metropolitan, SilverKris, Newsweek, Bonjour Paris, Fathom, Hemispheres, Skylife, Canadian Traveller and Luxos. Kasia Dietz handbags are inspired by worldly jaunts, made in Paris, and available online and in select Paris boutiques.