Ritournelle’s 1st birthday and fashion finds from France

My goodness, it feels like I’ve been on vacation for years! I was terribly, dreadfully busy with my business trip to Boston, then spent a few delightful weeks in France and was swept up all over again in the joyful turmoil that is New York life. Apparently I am still accustomed to the French tradition of taking extended leave. You can take the girl out of Paris…

Anyway, today marks the first birthday of Ritournelle! As you can read on my Portrait page, I launched my blog on the eve of my own birthday (hint, hint!) a year ago while still living in France. I am really thankful to you for reading and commenting on my finds, especially during such a transitional period of my life. Your support makes the blogging experience so much better and encourages me to keep on writing in-depth articles and brave the museum security guards. Merci beaucoup!

What better occasion to share with you the presents I received in advance? (Most are gifts to myself – I am not that spoilt.) After being featured on Le Choix Trois, I received insistent requests for personal style posts. Rest assured they will not become regulars on the blog but I do love sharing the stories around beloved items. Furthermore, I was asked over dinner last weekend where I find French brands in New York; I was foolishly unable to answer as I usually shop in Paris. So here is an overview of the brands I value and where you can get them on both sides of the pond.

You may recognize this coat from the post I wrote last fall on Parisian charity store Merci. Indeed I tried on the Ben coat from Etoile Isabel Marant just before moving to New York and didn’t want to take it off. Its understated chic, bracelet sleeves, oversized style and warmth made it a must-have. Comments from readers and The Fashion Spot fully convinced me. Alas, it was already sold out in Paris a week later. So imagine my surprise and delight when I saw a similar model at Merci last month! I didn’t think twice about buying it and am now fully prepared to brave the New York winter cold.

Isabel Marant opened her first store in America last year. Located in Soho, it is a pleasant boutique stocking both Isabel Marant and the more affordable Etoile line. I do wish they would display more clothes in such a big space though: apart from the prices, having a larger choice is the main reason why I wait for my trips to France to consider shopping.

I also needed a light jacket for professional occasions yet kept shunning the usual grey and black blazers. They reminded me of too many job interviews and I avoid dressing too formally for work anyway. For some reason my mind was set on Vanessa Bruno. It is an expensive brand, yes, but I feel it is important to own a well-tailored long-lasting piece. And I happened to be in Paris during the sales (how savvy am I?). Like the coat, this jacket was love at first sight. Its sleek cut, original asymmetric fastening and color make me feel confident and stylish instead of formal and disguised. Just what I needed.

Vanessa Bruno opened her first American store last year as well. Sadly for me it is located in Los Angeles and I have yet to find a retailer in New York. Do visit her stores if you are in Paris though: I honestly love everything she does and items displayed on Net à Porter and style.com do not do her justice.

Ask any French person which fashion brand reminds them of childhood; I bet Petit Bateau will come up 99% of the time. The brand has successfully marketed itself for teenagers and adults over the past years and recruited cult indie band MGMT for an advertizing campaign. It even opened a store carrying only adult sizes steps away from Colette in Paris. Speaking of which, Petit Bateau kept the same age system as for children’s clothes, meaning I will always be 16 in their eyes. How flattering. So flattering I took a few V-neck T-shirts I have been wearing on repeat since coming back into the New York heat. They are the perfect basics and somehow can even feel chic paired with the right accessories.

To my surprise I happened to find a very large Petit Bateau store in the Upper East Side of New York. The brand has other stores in Beverly Hills and Boston and an e-commerce website for the USA.

I had been looking for a golden bangle for some time and finally spotted this one among a display of gorgeous jewelry at Le Bon Marché, my favorite store in Paris. I then saw the designer was Hervé van der Straeten, whose work I had been curious to know more about.  Quite the genius, van der Straeten designs furniture and jewelry as well as cosmetic packaging like the Dior J’adore bottle and the Kiss Kiss Guerlain lipstick. On a more personal level, he is the longtime boyfriend of Bruno Frisoni who designs shoes for his own line and for Roger Vivier. This bangle is quite large without being massive, a statement piece yet light and very wearable.

I have spotted Hervé van der Straeten jewelry at Jeffrey in New York’s Meatpacking district. I believe Neiman Marcus also carries the brand.

Another bracelet, much more simple this time. Maman Ritournelle and I were desperately trying to find where Yves Saint Laurent opened his first Rive Gauche boutique back in the 1960s rue Tournon in Paris. That’s when I came upon the Marie-Hélène de Taillac store, a few steps away from Bonpoint. If you recall my post on Inès de la Fressange, this jewelry designer is mentioned in Parisian Chic and was attending the book-signing event. Marie-Hélène is based in India and designs gorgeous collections inspired from this country, highlighting the colors and shapes of gemstones with gold settings. Prices are easily over $1,000 dollars for an item but charms like mine are quite affordable. This aquamarine looks a little lonely on my wrist and calls for more companions…

Marie-Hélène de Taillac plans to open a store in New York this fall with the help of her sister Victoire, beauty blogger and PR for Cire Trudon. The brand is also sold on Net à Porter and at Barneys.

I am ashamed to say I owned only one bag before my trip to Paris, a large leather one that is a little too wintery for some summer outfits. I finally decided on a Vanessa Bruno cabas. Sold in a great variety of sizes, colors and fabrics, this is the it-bag of the typical Parisian woman yet it remains quite rare overseas. Although I was drawn to more large leather shoulder bags at first, I love how light and playful my cabas is with its sequined handle.

And finally, this Hermès scarf is my most treasured possession of all those featured in this post. As we entered the new store on the left bank of Paris, Maman Ritournelle told me with a hint of pride that she would be happy to give me my first Hermès scarf for my upcoming birthday. I had previously given her a few scarves (featured in this post) with Papa Ritournelle and the J’aime mon Carré campaign had turned them into objects of desire.

This one is the first that I noticed in store and the first that I tried on. Choosing a Hermès scarf is usually a difficult process because of the number of options, yet this is the exact color I was looking for as it goes with everything. Called Pégase, this model was created to celebrate a major equestrian competition. I have yet to experiment with all the different ways I can style it but I am sure it will become one of my wardrobe staples. And I could wear it just to hear the sound of rustling silk!

Hermès has a gorgeous store on Madison Avenue that has been recently renovated. I recommend you go up to the top floor to view their home collection.

A big thank you to my friend and fellow European expat Sarah from Style on the Couch for taking the pictures for this post!

Oh la la, ça fait des lustres que je n’ai pas posté de billet ! J’ai été bien accaparée par mon voyage d’affaire à Boston et mes merveilleuses semaines de vacances en France avant de replonger dans le joyeux tourbillon qu’est la vie new-yorkaise. Visiblement, j’ai gardé cette habitude bien française de ne pas trop bosser pendant les beaux jours.

En tout cas, c’est le premier anniversaire de Ritournelle aujourd’hui ! C’est l’occasion de vous remercier de votre fidélité et de vos commentaires qui rendent la tenue de Ritournelle tellement plus agréable. Cela m’encourage à prendre des photos sous la menace des gardes de sécurité dans les musées et de continuer à rédiger des articles bien longs. Merci beaucoup !

Et c’est l’occasion aussi de partager avec vous mes cadeaux reçus en avance. (La plupart sont des cadeaux à moi-même ; je ne suis pas si pourri gâtée que ça.) Après avoir parlé de ma garde-robe sur Le Choix Trois, j’ai reçu des demandes insistantes pour des billets sur mes vêtements préférés. Cela ne deviendra pas une rubrique régulière, mais c’est vrai que j’aime parler de l’histoire des pièces qui me tiennent à cœur. Puis, on m’a demandé récemment où je trouvais des marques françaises à New York. J’étais incapable de répondre sur le coup : j’attends toujours mes séjours en France pour faire du shopping.  Voici donc un bref aperçu des marques que j’apprécie et de leur succès outre-Atlantique.

Vous reconnaissez peut-être ce manteau du billet sur Merci. J’y avais essayé le Ben d’Etoile Isabel Marant avant de déménager à New York et avais eu le coup de foudre pour sa coupe large, ses manches trois-quarts, sa chaleur et son chic discret. Malheureusement une semaine plus tard tous les modèles dans ma taille avaient été vendus. Alors imaginez ma surprise en voyant un manteau similaire le mois dernier chez Merci ! Me voila maintenant parée pour les hivers terribles de New York. Isabel Marant a ouvert sa première boutique américaine dans le quartier de Soho à New York l’année dernière : un espace agréable mais étonnamment vide ! A part les prix, le choix est la raison principale pour laquelle j’attends de rentrer en France pour acheter des marques françaises.

J’avais aussi besoin d’une veste légère pour le travail mais voulais absolument éviter les traditionnels blazers. Ils me rappellent trop les entretiens d’embauche et je n’aime pas cet uniforme de bureau. Mon choix s’est porté sur Vanessa Bruno. C’est une marque chère, certes, mais pour ce type de vêtement, autant acheter une pièce bien taillée de bonne qualité qui durera longtemps. Et de toute façon j’étais à Paris pendant les soldes. Malin, non ? Comme pour le manteau, j’ai eu un coup de cœur pour cette veste avec sa coupe étroite, sa fermeture originale et sa couleur. Elle me donne confiance au lieu de me faire sentir déguisée. Vanessa Bruno a ouvert elle aussi sa première boutique américaine l’année dernière. Malheureusement pour moi elle est située à Los Angeles et je cherche encore un revendeur sur New York.

Si vous êtes Français, vous avez sans doute comme moi un lien affectif avec la marque Petit Bateau. J’ai fait une escale dans leur boutique entièrement dédiée aux tailles adultes à deux pas de Colette et me suis procurée quelques T-shirt col V que je n’arrête pas de porter depuis mon retour à New York. Ce sont les basiques parfaits et accompagnés des bons accessoires, ils ont presque un côté chic ! J’ai été surprise de trouver une très grande boutique Petit Bateau dans l’Upper East Side à New York et la marque livre dans tous les Etats-Unis via son site e-commerce américain.

Je cherchais un bracelet manchette doré depuis un certain temps jusqu’à ce que je repère celui-ci dans une belle vitrine du Bon Marché. Je ne fus pas étonnée de voir qu’il avait été créé par Hervé van der Straeten. Génie du design, il dessine des collections de meubles, de bijoux et aussi des packagings cosmétiques comme le flacon de J’adore de Dior et l’écrin du rouge à lèvres Kiss Kiss de Guerlain. Van der Straeten est aussi le compagnon de Bruno Frisoni, créateur pour la marque Roger Vivier. Cette manchette est large tout en étant légère, si bien que j’en oublie sa rigidité en la portant. Les bijoux Van der Straeten sont vendus chez Jeffrey, magasin que je vous recommande vivement si vous êtes de passage à New York.

Un autre bracelet, beaucoup plus simple cette fois. Je cherchais désespérément avec ma mère où Yves Saint Laurent avait ouvert sa première boutique de prêt-à-porter rue Tournon et suis ainsi tombée sur celle de Marie-Hélène de Taillac. Cette créatrice de bijoux est mentionnée dans La Parisienne d’Inès de la Fressange et je l’avais croisée à l’événement de dédicace à New York. Basée en Inde, elle créé de superbes collections inspirées de ce pays et mettant en valeur la taille et la couleur des pierres précieuses. Les prix de ses pièces montent rapidement au-delà de 1000€ mais des charms comme le mien sont bien abordables. Cette aigue-marine se sent pour l’instant bien seule à mon poignet et réclame d’autres compagnons… Marie-Hélène de Taillac ouvrira sa première boutique américaine à New York cet automne grâce à l’aide de sa sœur Victoire, bloggeuse beauté et PR de Cire Trudon. Les collections sont pour l’instant disponibles chez Net à Porter et Barneys.

J’ai honte mais c’est vrai : je n’avais qu’un sac avant les vacances, un large en cuir noir un peu trop hivernal pour certaines tenues d’été. Mon choix s’est porté sur un cabas Vanessa Bruno, un peu trop vu à Paris mais encore rare à New York. J’étais plus attirée par le modèle Nord-Sud au début mais finalement j’aime bien la légèreté et le côté espiègle de ce sac.

Et finalement, mon carré Hermès, très beau cadeau de ma mère. Je lui en avais offert quelques-uns avec mon père que j’avais empruntés pour ce billet ; la campagne J’aime mon carré en avait ensuite faits des objets de désir. Ce modèle est le premier que j’ai repéré dans le nouveau magasin rive gauche : sa couleur rose claire va avec tout ! Appelé Pégase, il a été créé à l’occasion d’un événement équestre majeur. Il me reste désormais à essayer toutes les façons dont on peut porter le carré mais une chose est sûre, je peux le sortir de sa boîte rien que pour entendre le bruissement de la soie ! Hermès a un magnifique magasin sur la Madison Avenue qui vient d’être rénové ; l’étage supérieur avec les articles pour la maison vaut vraiment le coup d’œil.

Un grand merci à mon amie Sarah de Style on the Couch d’avoir pris ces photos !

40 thoughts on “Ritournelle’s 1st birthday and fashion finds from France

  1. Happy Birthday…

    To both you and your beautiful, beautiful blog!

    Here’s to another year of treasures and writing as wonderful as this. I have been blissfully cooing over the Isabel Marant coat for ten minutes, but – Holy envy! – the Hermes silk scarf makes me want to weep.

    Do have a lovely day,
    Sarah x

  2. Anne I do admire your style, I think you always manage too look so effortlessly chic. Whilst my favourite item here remains the Marant shoes (their SoHo shopping space really does need more items on display I agree) I adore the gold bracelet you feature here. Such an interesting tale of links between the designers relationships, too!

    Happy Birthday to Ritournelle Blog indeed :)

    1. They’re not Marant, shoes, they’re Miss Dior!! You could you forget?! Shame on you ;-)
      Thank you for your lovely comment and above all for helping me out on this one. XX

      1. You did indeed remind me of this and YES, HOW could I indeed forget they were Dior?! I think I had Marant on the brain a little last week, I was looking at some of the new collection, and thinking of a visit to the SoHo store. Whatever the brand of those shoes, I think they look truly perfect on you :-)

  3. The beginning of Ritournelle´s 2nd year and your birthday´s eve. What a great day!
    As I previously said to you, I always loved your blog and your authentic personal point of view about what you experienced and shared with us.
    “Compliments, compliments!
    En ce jour si charmant
    Le bonheur vous inonde
    En ce jour si charmant!”
    Je te souhaite un très heureux anniversaire :-)

    PS: Loved the pictures.

  4. A very big happy birthday to you (and your lovely blog) Anne! You are absolutely right when you say one of the best things about blogging is the wonderful, like-minded people you meet (and I still remember your very sweet email to me when you were just starting to blog saying I had inspired you). But as well as that, I absolutely love these glimpses into wonderful things happening on the other side of the world.

    And oh my, that Hermes scarf is so beautiful I gasped at the picture of it laid out flat! Is this a brand new addition for your birthday this year? Honourable mentions also to that marvellous little bracelet, the Dior heels and the Marant coat.

    Briony xx

    1. Thanks Briony! I remember the email as well ;-)
      Yes, the scarf is one of this year’s birthday present from my mom. I’m very grateful to her for giving me such a beautiful gift!

  5. Anne!!! it seems you were very busy after I saw you :). What fantastic purchases, I bought a beautiful IM coat recently too in red. I can’t get over how much I love it. Yours suits you so well – and I have the Ben coat and I have to say I prefer the shorter length a little bit more. You will wear this TO DEATH.

    Happy blogging (and real life) birthday my dear. I hope you had a glass of champagne!


    1. Thank you Hannah-Rose!! Yes, I was very busy after we met up in Paris ;-) So we are coat twins? So glad I finally made this purchase: IM coats are so stylish, warm and comfy. No glass of champagne but a great evening out at Morimoto in Meatpacking: I highly recommend it to you next time you’re in New York!

  6. When I saw you in the Marant coat I instantly remembered your post on Merci- and the coat you tried on originally there….which I confess, I tried on here as well. I was a little surprised at how little the Marant store carried in Soho, but between Net-a-porter, Barneys, and some of the local shops here, I think I get to see most of the collections. Happy birthday to you and the blog! I love seeing all your French acquisitions (especially the Bruno bag and Hermes Scarf, heats to Mama Ritournelle). There is also a store called Nida I have been meaning to check out in NYC- they are supposed to carry all kinds of French brands (including Erotokritos, Paul and Joe and the all important Vanessa Bruno). We will have to check it out when I am in NYC next month!!

    1. !!! Lani, I just checked Nida’s website and indeed they carry all the best French brands. If it wasn’t raining so much I’d grab my purse and run over there. Thanks for telling me about it; we absolutely must go next month!

  7. Happy belated birthday!
    What an amazing collection of finds/ buys! Love every single of them! That Hermes scarf is so beautiful, unique and special!

  8. Hi pretty girl! So fun to see pictures of you on here, since it is so rare :)

    And joyeux anniversaire to you and your blog!

    I didn’t realize how close in time we both started our blogs. It’s been so much fun reading your posts and interacting online with you this past year – I’m looking forward to much more in the months to come!

    – Ava

    1. Thanks Ava! Yes I thought I’d do a little personal style post for once :-)

      I realized by seeing the headline of your post on Bloglovin this morning that we almost share blog birthdays, how funny! I remember how you commented here and mentioned me on Twitter and it all started from there. Merci beaucoup for your support! It’s always a pleasure to read your comments on Ritournelle and to discover your finds on Hits and Fits. xx

  9. This post is your gift to us, thank you so much! Your taste is exquisite, thank you also for this peek at your style. Wishing you and your blog a wonderful year ahead!

    1. Thank you for your lovely comment and for subscribing Kellina! I look forward to guest-posting on I want to be a Coppola and reading all about our fashion icons on your blogs. Bisous!

  10. Bonjour ritournelle !
    Le manteau IM est sublime ! j’aimerais connaitre la taille que tu as pris et savoir comment il taille ?

    Merci !

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