We British women are often heard to complain "why are french women sexier than us?", determined to find some sort of definitive distinction beyond the sophisticated black ensembles, tousled-yet-groomed hair and Gallic 'je ne sais quoi'. Well now the French filles seem to have their own lamentation to voice : "why are the British girls cooler than us?"
The obsession has been building for a while, and it is not uncommon for Parisian girls to hop on the Eurostar for a daytrip to that hallowed temple of all things 'London' - Topshop. Interestingly, Union Jacks are worn sportingly by Parisians on wallets, bags and suitcases (The Mini Cooper luggage range is a sellout here.) The September issue of Jalouse magazine, the bible of French branchitude (hipness), features several fashion stories dedicated to British models including Daphne Guinness's niece Mary Charteris, while other publications instruct on how to achieve 'le look des filles british' using Alexa Chung and Peaches Geldof as inspiration.
Now an exhibition at the high-end Parisian department store Le Bon Marché dedicates 1000 square metres to all things British. 'So London' offers Parisians the chance to view and buy the best of '100 %' British fashion, accessories, interior design, food, art and culture without having to cross the channel, and also features a retrospective of the life and music of Bryan Ferry. Liam Gallagher's line Pretty Green, Lucy in Disguise by Lily Allen and Sarah Owen and jewellry by Jade Jagger are among the fashion offerings marketed by Le Bon Marché as 'Made in UK'. Topshop's makeup range is also on sale, alongside photography from Britain's citizen celebration of this year's Royal Wedding by Martin Parr.
So London runs from the 27th August to the 15th October at Le Bon Marché, 24 rue de Sèvres, Paris 75007.