Atlantique Ascoli sounds like a remote place at the far end of Finistère, but it is the name of a French fashion designer as graceful and precise as her creations. The erstwhile musician (and daughter of the late model-turned-designer Emmanuelle Khanh) set up her label in 2013 and I discovered it in Paris the following year. Ascoli is something of a younger Margaret Howell, but with a particular viewpoint on French style – a boho take on the low-key, Parisian weekend look.
I’m a huge fan of her tightly edited, easy yet striking collections, which often combine traditionally masculine materials such as cotton shirting with feminine shaping, all made in artisanal French factories. The appeal for me is in the refined details: a delicate tuck here, a ruffle dwindling to nothing there. And I love the idea that this year’s blouse will go with next season’s skirt – it’s slow fashion at its best. I continue to wear the crisp cotton “overblouse”, with drop-puff shoulders, which I bought years ago in Colette, while this summer I invested in a fetching yellow top with cut-in shoulders, a stand-up ruffle neck and a playful nautical rope trim. In cotton piqué, it is structured enough to stand away over slim trousers but not too vast to tuck in.
Ascoli is not a name that will remain niche for long: attention has been growing since she created an exclusive capsule range for Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop in 2017. I’m particularly taken with a flânerie blouse (£475) in the nearest equivalent to Tattersall check; its perfect cut, tiny gathers and round neck hint at below-stairs Edwardiana. It pairs well with the chocolate-brown cord Ici-Ailleurs skirt (£442) I just bought, which has a gathered front, a flattering flat back, and reaches just below the knee at exactly the point that Celine’s Hedi Slimane has decreed the new length. It’s a Gallic take on classic British country style and I can’t wait to unleash it on the Shires.