I’ll never forget an interview I read from style blogger Leandra Medine and French style aficionado Inès de la Fressange. At the time, it really got me thinking about style – specifically my own personal style.
The interview was all about how to achieve French chic. I say achieve because for anyone who is not French, it can take more work than most of us would like to admit. Many have tried, many more have failed – myself included.
When asked how women make themselves feel more French, Inès de la Fressange replied; “In France they don’t want to show that they have made an effort”. Sounds easy.
In fact, it is very hard to get the balance right. I have often attempted to pull off the ‘I don’t care, I’m naturally chic’ look. The result is always somewhat underwhelming: scruffy or a little boring, definitely not chic or arty. The trick is you really do have to care (alot) about the colours you put together, the textures you layer, the brands you choose, the cut, the silhouette…and that’s before you even put the clothes on.
I don’t know if it is my choice of clothing or my personality, but I fear French chic is beyond my reach.
“Give me Octopus rings over French chic any day”
Oh, it’s fine. I have come to terms with this… and for the better I think. Embracing your own personal style takes guts, a thick skin and an ability to appreciate the style of others without feeling like you have to emulate them. If I am honest, I am not drawn to the understated, sopnisticated look that is synonomous with French or maybe just Parisian style – I will take bold print over neutrals, piled on jewellery over the sophistication of one or two pieces, maximalist and quirky over pared back any day.
French Style: Les Nereides
Then I discovered Les Nereides.
A French brand that has totally made me rethink the concept of what French style is. Les Nereides is a maximalist jewellery brand that challenges the idea of simple sophistication – there is nothing simple about this collection.
More is more with this brand, who boast items which include a ring with an Octopus on it, one that you can open to expose a ladybird within and necklaces that border on children’s jewellery but with just the right amount of craftsmanship and decadence to make them beautiful, wearable pieces. Here are a few so you can see what I mean:
Now when I say I discovered this brand, it may seem as if I was strolling through the streets of Paris and came across a little boutique whilst nibbling on a baguette – I found them on the TK Maxx website whilst scrolling for trainers. Anyway, the Les Nereides brand is not searchable on the TK Maxx website, which means you have to scroll through all of the jewellery to find the few pieces they have. This is a real shame as the brand is much more affordable on the site (prices range from £100+ as opposed to double digits on TK Maxx) which means you can purchase a few pieces before you become loyal to the brand and buy everything they have…I’m almost there.
Here is a little from the Les Nereides brand:
Created in Nice in 1980 by Pascale and Enzo Amaddeo, the Les Néréides firm offers unique designs of high-end costume jewellery. Les Néréides are Goddesses of the Greek mythology. They are the daughters of the God Nereus (the old man of the sea). There are 50 of them and they enjoy this wonderful ability to reinvent themselves endlessly… like our pair of designers. Pascale and Enzo Amaddeo met on the benches of the Academy of the Arts in Belgium in the seventies. They nourish their limitless creativity from inspiring trips, wandering in junk shops and flea markets, and the green surroundings of Picardy’s countryside. Drawing their inspiration from nature and the animals, they garnish their sketchbooks with enchanting and fantasy bestiaries, cosmopolitan landscapes and luxuriant vegetation. With Les Néréides, they develop a brand of jewellery boldly bucolic where flowers and animals are the heroes of refined designs.
What do you think of the Les Nereides collection?