I spot Caroline de Maigret loping into the Stella McCartney show at Paris fashion week, and exhale. She just looks so easy and cool and right. She's in jeans, a shirt, and a coat - all navy, which suddenly makes all those street style types done up in the latest bright gear look de trop.
De Maigret is a fan of the no-makeup look, long hair left loose and wild. She is dedicated to denim and khaki, to ankle boots, to T-shirts borrowed from her lover, and classic button-down shirts worn with great jackets: blazers, classic bikers or (lucky her) Chanel.
How To Be Parisian Wherever You Are
"I dress almost in a uniform," she tells me. "People might think it's careless, but the reality is it takes us [Parisians] years of education to get into that style!" She is quick witted with a throaty laugh. A model and music producer, is also the co-author of the amusing, irreverent style guide: How To Be Parisian Wherever You Are.
No wonder French obsessed Aussie fashion label Blue Illusion was keen to book her for its Winter '16 campaign. How does de Maigret sum up the culture of French style? "There is a certain freedom to our style ... it's important, but it's not everything in life, you know? I think you can tell that other things matter to us. Also, we really gave up on this idea of perfection. French style is achievable - it's more about playing with what you have than running after something."
"You should never be snobbish about wearing the same things over and over, because that's what makes you who you are," she says, reeling off her own wardrobe standbys: jeans ("all kinds, all colours"), blazers, shirts, brown boots, spike heels, silk dresses, leather jackets, brogues by British heritage brand Churches, a classic Chanel 2.55 bag. "It's about learning what works with your body, your skin colour and your mood. Like, for example I know that a white blouse always works for me, so in the morning, I don't have to think... You find your key pieces, and around those you add a few new pieces that make you happy or give you joy." Last season it was a leopard print Haider Ackermann coat, and a long blue silk dress from Alber Elbaz's final collection for Lanvin - "because I wanted to have a last dress by Alber. It's a timeless piece, very long, I can wear it to a wedding or a big reg carpet party, it's classic enough to wear over and over."
Caroline's Top Style Tips
1. "Blazers give you attitude. You roll up the sleeves, push up the collar, put your hands in the pockets - all those little tricks."
2. "Find that one strong piece and balance it with very classic pieces, But just one! [Or] you're going feel like you're in disguise."
3. "Try not to wear more than three colours at once."
4. "When you look at yourself in the mirror but don't look at your face, you only see the outfit - it's like looking at a page in a magazine. It takes the emotion away."