Go where you will and you will see French fashions but only in Paris do you see how they should be worn -Frances Trollope 1835
It all started with Emily, who has Phoebe Philo kind of vibe: pulled-back blonde ponytail; black no-button slim-cut coat; flat-front classic-cut trousers and those boots: tall and black with a tiny gold button at the back and mid-height block gold heels: the perfect mix of sobriety tempered with frivolity. "They’re Celine." Emily who works between London and Paris drops the name of the designer of the year’s label with French insouciance. "But they were cheaper in Paris," she adds, with Brit thriftiness. "They cost £200 less than in London. It made them almost seem like a bargain."
She’s not the only one. I’ve been dividing my time between Paris and the UK for years and guess where I shop. OK I prefer French style but that doesn’t mean an Hermès scarf and Chanel two-tone ballerines any more than it means a beret and a string of onions. I buy (in the sales bien sur) from smaller, more affordable designers - Les Prairies de Paris, APC, Vanessa Bruno and, before meteoric catwalk success pushed up her prices with her global presence, Isabel Marant. These labels are pure contemporary Paris style: immaculately cut and beautifully made with just the right amount of detail, neither boring nor fussy; anti-bling and effortlessly cool. What’s more they’re all slightly to majorly cheaper in Paris than in the boutiques that import them across the world.
So why not shop in Paris? If you live in Southern England, it takes no longer and costs no more to travel to Paris than to Edinburgh but to get your head round it you’re probably going to have to give your trip some serious justification. So here’s the plan. Don’t look on it as a day at the shops: think of it more as a sales-cation. When you offset your savings against the cost of your trip you’ll find it comes in at a kind of B.O.G.O.F. (buy a coat, get a free holiday).
Here's my first map: Saint Germain
Is there anywhere else you would go?