Throughout history, many notable women have been attributed with perfecting the French style; Lulu de la Falaise, Francoise Hardy, Brigitte Bardot — they all mastered the allure of being perfectly undone. Historically, French style follows a deceptively simple set of rules. The perfect shade of lipstick; smudged eyeliner that hints at a sleepless night with a lover; and hair that falls perfectly whist looking like they cut it themselves over a bathroom sink. Jeanne Damas sits apart from her fellow nationals because aside from mastering the rules, she also knows when to throw them out the window.
Fearless in her approach, Jeanne is ushering in a new wave of Parisian style. Her dreamy doe-eyes, impossible pout and figure made for fine clothing – long and shaped like a cigarette – have captivated an international following hanging on her every seductively annunciated word. It all began with a coveted blog, and has since led to modelling, acting and most recently her new label Rouje. It may seem sweeping to claim that an entire country has collectively mastered the art of style, but the French are yet to prove us wrong.
When did you realise that fashion was something you wanted to explore?
I have always been around style, from a very young age. When I started my first blog fourteen years ago I shared pictures of my friends and me, and the lifestyle we had. I simply wanted to share the best fitted dresses I could find, amazing shoes with perfect heels and cool shirts – representing the essence of new French chic style. I was also drawn to modelling, and later on acting, which I found to be an incredible form of creativity related in so many ways to style and fashion.
Can you share one of your earliest fashion memories with us?
My parents had a restaurant in Paris, and I remember my mother wearing very selected elegant floral dresses with vintage designs from the fifties, and incredible Sergio Rossi shoes, amongst other delicate and feminine brands.
How would you describe your style?
My style is a combination of vintage, cool and chic. The spirit of my first collection is a result of this – simple t-shirts, well-fitted jeans, and light summer dresses.
How much of your approach to fashion comes from growing up in a city like Paris?
My entire approach to fashion comes from growing up in Paris, which remains the capital of fashion, even if cities like Los Angeles account for tendencies. Most women that I know in Paris do not follow those tendencies, yet, they follow with taste – their own vision of elegance.
Which designers are you interested in right now?
There are two designers. Courrèges for the way Arnaud Vaillant and Sebastien Meyer, the artistic director, combine the simplicity of the seventies with a delightful modern touch. And Julie de Libran’s work at Sonia Rykiel, whose first collection revives the very feminine – and Parisian – style of the brand.
What does your daytime uniform look like? ..and for the evening?
My look is always simple, feminine, with a touch of sixties or seventies style. In the day I like to stay in jeans, with an elegant white shirt. Even in the evening, I love basic outfits. I can wear pants at special events or go to a wedding with my hair undone. You can remain simple while elegant, this might be what characterises the French charm in general.
Can you tell us about some cherished items in your wardrobe?
I always get a special feeling for those hard to find jeans. I love shoes with specific heels that makes the silhouette rise just what it has to. I am not specially attracted to brands, I usually favour cheap stuff.
Are there any shopping addresses in Paris you can share with us?
There is one shopping address I love to go, even if Paris is full of gorgeous and creative fashion designers. It is a fashion concept store called La Mode Vintage, a shop that sells only… vintage stuff.
How did you begin gaining momentum in the fashion industry? What is it people are drawn to in your blog and social media accounts?
It happened without my knowing at the beginning. I knew that people were drawn to my blog to have a glimpse of my taste and to see me with the perfect dressing. It is comforting to know that my followers are eager for new ideas all over the world. In France, of course, but also in the States, and Asia.
You have now launched your own label Rouje. What made you want to do this?
After collaborating on various design projects for The Reformation, La Redoute and Nathalie Dumeix I launched the label Rouje with some friends. I wanted to make a collection which I could wear integrally, as if each piece were part of my dressing. My followers want to buy garments that I love and selected – so the idea of creating beautiful jackets, breezy blouses, floral dresses and classic denim came naturally as an extension of myself.
All your designs are named after girls names – what is the significance of this?
I have a natural tendency to use my closest friends’ names. I guess I do like the fact that people I love to spend time with are connected to my work somehow.
Who do you hope to see wearing your designs?
I think my designs will find a strong interest with women looking for chic vintage easy wear that they will naturally feel good in. They are perfect for anyone searching for casual yet elegant and modern designs.
Can you tell us about some of your favourite pieces in the collection?
My favourite pieces are the vintage, feminine cache-coeur made in mesh, but you know, I carefully limited the number of models I wanted to expose as I wanted each piece to have a singularity, each garment to have a particular meaning for women.