With so many British women hankering after the nonchalant polished chic of the French, you’d have expected the UK to be inundated with Franco-centric boutiques. Not so. But new e-store Frenchologie aims to narrow the gap created by La Manche – meaning a Parisian shopping trip is now significantly easier than jumping on the Eurostar.
London-based French founders Beatrice Drovandi (formerly of Net-a-Porter) and Cecilia Cauville (formerly of Feathers) met at the Istituto Marangoni fashion school while students and gradually noticed that “many products are sold in the UK with French names, but have nothing to do with France. We wanted to sell real French products with an authentic feel.”
And so their stylishly simple web store Frenchologie was born. The mix of tricky-to-find and upscale design products is every bit as good as you would hope to discover in any über-chic Marais boutique, and all impeccably presented. There are Tsé & Tsé home products (from £71.50), including porcelain salad and serving bowls and stainless-steel drainers. There are Maison Martin Margiela’s trompe-l’oeil wallpapers (£338), featuring the house’s signature opulent black-and-white architectural detailing. There are Ines de la Fressange scented candles (£31.90); quirky graphic-printed napkins (£5.50); printed silk scarves by designer Constance Boutet (second picture, £295), inspired by Rorschach’s inkblot tests, which are chic enough to frame; and romantically embellished jewellery from Estelle Deve (from £105) – as well as gold and leather spike necklaces, rings and earrings (from £215) from Annelise Michelson, whose designs are worn by rock royalty, including The Kills’ Alison Mosshart. An unusual standout piece is the to-order painted wood and glass-topped coffee table with multipanelled legs by designer Romain Duclos (£1,750).
But there are completely unexpected elements, too. The site has a delicatessen department, selling treats including walnut jam (£10.50) and Provençal black-truffle olive oil by Aix et Terra (third picture, £33.50). The beauty section offers rare products such as Opalis’s hair oil for nourishing long hair (£42) and perfumes by Histoires de Parfums, the brand founded by Gerald Ghislain, who likes to tell a story with each scent that relates to a particular year of French history (1969 in first picture, £117).
A clothing section, meanwhile, is promised for later in the spring. If the selection is as novel and authentic as the store’s existing offerings, it’ll be worth keeping an eye on.