14 year old Vanessa Paradis singing her breakthrough hit Joe le taxi, Rex Features/All Over Press.

14 year old Vanessa Paradis singing her breakthrough hit Joe le taxi, Rex Features/All Over Press.


They’re the stalwarts of timeless style – the endlessly chic French women we all wish we could dress like. Here are just ten of them.

Vanessa Paradis and Simone de Beauvoir, All Over Press.

If being Johnny Depp’s longtime girlfriend wasn’t enough, sultry singer and actress Vanessa Paradis has long been muse to Karl Lagerfeld. And it shows: working with Chanel since 1991 has taught her a thing or two about classic style with her bohemian, undone look.

Breaking down the boundaries of philosophy and feminism, Simone de Beauvoir’s work made waves. And she was a sharp dresser, too, favouring chignons, smart shirts and stylish prints for her own take on existential chic.

Marion Cotillard with her Lady Dior handbag and Betty Catroux with Yves Saint Laurent and Louise De La Falise at her side, All Over Press.

As one of the most-nominated actresses of the modern day, Marion Cotillard spends a lot of time on red carpets. So, of course, she’s gotten good at it, mixing red lips with classic dresses and plenty of Dior, where she is the face of the Lady Dior handbag – a fitting feminine choice for the elegant star. 

A former Chanel model, this 1960s and 70s fashion icon was also “like a twin sister” to Yves Saint Laurent and inspiration to a legion of designers such as Tom Ford and Hedi Slimane. The quintessential androgyne, Catroux was known for her long, platinum hair, even longer legs and tomboy style.

Catherine Deneuve and Françoise Hardy, All Over Press.

At 70, Catherine Deneuve has had a long career playing a very particular kind of French woman. Elegant and timelessly beautiful, she was muse to Yves Saint Laurent, who dressed her for films like Belle de Jour, La Chamade and The Hunger, and she modelled for the likes of MAC and L’Oreal throughout her 60s.

With an otherworldly elegant beauty, 1960s chanteuse Françoise Hardy was a perfect fit for the major styles of the time: miniskirts, polonecks and trenchcoats made her a source of lasting inspiration – check out Alexa Chung’s wardrobe in case you don’t believe us.

Isabelle Adjani and Jean Seberg, All Over Press.

With an unnervingly powerful screen presence and five César awards to prove it, Isabelle Adjani is known for her smouldering beauty on and off-screen, as well as a taste for seductive and sultry styles to match.

Never has a simple striped t-shirt looked as essential as it did on Jean Seberg. The American actress became muse to French directors like Jean-Luc Godard and François Truffaut, and her close-cut pixie crop has made its way into the haircut hall of fame, prompting legions of women to follow suit.

Emmanuelle Alt and Marie Antoinette, All Over Press.

One would expect the editor of French Vogue to be pretty stylish, of course, but Emmanuelle Alt takes it to new levels. Opting for skinny jeans, masculine tailoring and pointed stilettos, the current doyenne of Parisian chic runs the risk of making other fashion editors look sloppy.

Drawn in decadent fashion in Sofia Coppola’s 2006 film, Marie Antoinette’s rich extravagance has long been a source of inspiration to fashion’s designers and stylists – oversized dresses, feathered fans and powdered beehives all necessary for depicting the scorned, doomed queen of France.