Three Fashion Essentials, Made in Provence

If Paris figures prominently among the fashion capitals, where tomorrow's trends are on display during Fashion Week, it cannot however claim a complete monopoly over French creation! Let’s focus on those fashion must-haves that have emerged under the Mediterranean sun.
By Mélissa Darré

Jeans

More practical than trendy to begin with, jeans quickly abandoned their original vocation – inseparable from the working classes – to transform into a unisex wardrobe must in the 70s. A metamorphosis that became reality especially around Marseille, where the label Rica Lewis distinguished itself brilliantly in 1928, soon followed by Jézéquel, Mc Keen, Blue Spencer and Aviatic.

If Marseille has since ceded its status as the undisputed capital of French denim, a revival has taken place in recent years, thanks to the emergence of fashionable brands. Among them, Kaporal rules the roost amongst Marseille denim brands, with its creative designs and vintage style. "We are not trying to be a cutting-edge brand, but rather to be right on-trend," says its founder Laurent Emsellem.

Jeans
© iStock - Klaikungwon

The Tank Top

Invented by a factory worker who had the idea of removing the sleeves of his top, to be at ease while staying protected, the famous undershirt of the dockers of the French Riviera was freed from its utilitarian role in 1951 by Marlon Brando in A Streetcar Named Desire. If it disappeared from view for a time, the tank top made a comeback in the 90s, manufactured by among others the Manufacture Saint Theodore, the market leader, owned by the Alpournarian family of Marseille.

Reinterpreted from every angle, by well-known chains and up-and-coming designers, the famous undergarment is now out in the open. American Vintage, above all, transforms this basic with sublime simplicity for men and women, with noble materials and subtle colors. This refreshing simplicity is the reason for the success of Michael Azoulay’s brand, today one of the jewels of French ready-to-wear.

The Tank Top
© iStock - SanneBerg

The Marseille Necklace

Instrument of haording in the nineteenth century, this gold bead necklace consisted of a thin ribbon on which precious jewels were sewn. Soon adopted by the Marseille bourgeoisie, it became a gift item: a new milestone in the life of a person was the occasion to be offered a new golden bead, thus making up the distinctive necklace.

Combining authentic craftsmanship with a contemporary touch, the label Gas Bijoux enjoys creating costume jewelry inspired both by historical charms of the region and pieces picked up on world travels by its creator André Gas and his daughter Marie. The collections are produced in limited editions, to the delight of fans of this family-owned brand, born on the beaches of Saint-Tropez.

The Marseille Necklace
© iStock - Ejla

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