Sandro's Evelyne Chétrite with Alexa Chung
There’s a very interesting fashion revolution taking place and if you hadn’t noticed, don’t worry. It’s a quiet one and chances are, you’re already part of it. Ever since street-style bloggers started documenting what cool French editors wore to the shows, editors and buyers around the world took notice of certain Parisian labels, not quite new but suddenly refreshing to see. Isabel Marant, Vanessa Bruno and Sandro - they’ve been selling like hot cakes, striking a chord with women after clever, easy pieces that fit well, are cool enough but not quite a ‘trend’ and although not ‘high-street’ do not require remortgaging. Coincidentally – or not – all are designed by women, who also happen to be their brand’s best ambassador.
Bip Ling DJing and Johnny Borrell with Edie Campbell
Last night saw the opening of Sandro’s new flagship store in London’s perma-chic Westbourne Grove. Alexa Chung and Bip Ling were on DJ-duty and guests including Ben Grimes, Edie Campbell and Johnny Borrell cooed over the clothes on offer while the boys were introduced to Sandro menswear, available in the UK for the first time. The day after, we caught up with the French label’s founder and Creative Director, Evelyne Chétrite, to find out more about the label, the women that inspire her and just how exactly do French girls get it so achingly right?
Grazia Daily: Evelyne, we're very excited with the new flagship store on Westbourne Grove! How was last night's party for you, with Alexa Chung DJing? We feel she's the perfect Sandro girl!
Evelyne Chétrite: I was so excited to host my first Sandro party in London! I am very happy that Alexa is a fan; the way she styles an outfit is what Sandro is all about - individuality and not following fashion. I loved seeing London's take on Sandro last night, the way women dress here is very cool and they definitely know how to have a good time!
Grazia Daily: OK, we have to ask, who's Sandro?
Evelyne Chétrite: Sandro is a character - she's the girl I imagine when I'm designing. I wanted to create a brand that is a first name only so that women feel on intimate terms with the label; and to build a personal relationship with women who buy and wear it.
Grazia Daily: We love the AW10 collection as it's full of those key pieces we want in our wardrobe this season; the cape, the Native American prints, the velvet skirts and leather shorts! What were your influences behind it and how do you start designing each collection? Is it what you and your friends would like to wear or does a particular girl/muse inspire you?
Evelyne Chétrite: I'm always curious about what women want to wear and I look for ideas everywhere, I never stop thinking about details and how I can improve individual pieces. It's a constant preoccupation! I'm inspired by street style and also past eras, especially the Sixties, Seventies and Eighties. I love Lauren Hutton's timelessly chic style and think Kate Bosworth, Diane Kruger and Alexa always look effortless.
Grazia Daily: What's your personal favourite piece from the collection and have you seen anyone (a cool girl on the street in Paris or a celebrity on the red carpet) wearing one of your designs that made you very happy?
Evelyne Chétrite: Seeing women wearing my clothes gives me so much pleasure and I am really inspired by what I see girls and women wearing on the street. Of course, it's exciting to see a celebrity wearing Sandro but I'm equally happy to see a stylish woman interpreting the brand in her own way.
Grazia Daily: There's been quite an interest in French, easy-chic labels lately, like Sandro as well as Isabel Marant and Vanessa Bruno, all incidentally - or not! - designed by women. Why do you think that is and what is, for you, the quintessential Parisian look?
Evelyne Chétrite: Women understand how other women want to dress; I would never design something I wouldn't wear myself and I'm inspired by my friends. French women are individual and have a strong sense of personal style - I make sure this translates to how I design, and I have the archetypal, classic French woman in mind for each collection.
Grazia Daily: You grew up in Morocco and moved to France when you were 15. Does your childhood there still influence you and your designs and please, describe to us what Paris looked like in the eyes of a 15-year-old girl moving there. It must have been exciting!
Evelyne Chétrite: My childhood in Morocco was full of colour and vibrancy, a definite continued influence for Sandro. When I moved to Paris I really fell in love with fashion and developed my own style. Working in thrift shops and at local flea markets helped me decide to become a designer and how to bring looks together. It was a really exciting time of change - I had originally come to France to study law!
Grazia Daily: Finally, what's coming up for Sandro and what can we expect from the SS11 collection? Any specific pieces or influences that you feel will be key for summer?
Evelyne Chétrite: With Sandro I like to offer something to suit every woman no matter what her style or taste. S/S ‘11 will offer the feminine sophisticated mix and match pieces that work so well for our customer. We've got a floral story, some beautiful summer leather pieces, a strong Seventies-inspired denim collection; pieces perfect for the Coachella-festival girl and of course, every kind of dress!
-- Kiki Georgiou