The enduring appeal of the French girl

French Girls, DynamiteThey’re the reason the phrase je ne sais quoi was invented.

From Marie Antoinette (actually Austrian) to Jane Birkin (British but Serge) to Emmanuelle Alt and Léa Seydoux (both born and raised in Paris) and the ones whose names you don’t know, pop culture has been charmed, bewitched, smitten and titillated by those madames and mademoiselles for hundreds of years, making their mythical allure a cliché for the ages.

Seydoux brings her icy intensity to upcoming Bond flick Spectre after making North America blush with graphic love story Blue Is the Warmest Color, and Birkin’s daughters Charlotte Gainsbourg and Lou Doillon have picked up the torch and carved out impressive careers of their own in film, music and modelling, all the while sporting the uniform of the chic Parisian, naturellement. Which is to say, looking as if they tumbled from their flats looking immaculately disheveled and without a care what the world thinks. (Surprise, surprise: it takes effort to look that effortless. Just ask Caroline de Maigret.)

And while Montreal-based clothing brand Dynamite has the French heritage part down, you may not expect the shopping mall staple to draw inspiration from gals like Brigitte Bardot, Birkin and okay-not-French-but-very-sexy Rosie Huntington-Whiteley but times have changed.

With name-checking monikers for the Fall 2015 collections like Biker Bardot, Huntington Diaries and Savage Beauty, the 30-year-old brand continues to redefine itself by aiming for a slightly older, more fashion-forward woman. The upcoming collection’s stable of floppy hats, subtly sexy off-the-shoulder sweaters and Breton striped shirts sends the message, loud and clear: everyone is trying to be a little more French and that’s okay.

[Photo provided]

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