Celebrated fashion designer Catherine Malandrino has added another triumph to her résumé with a new book, Une Femme Française: The Seductive Style of French Women (St. Martins Press). In an event hosted by Galerie, she was on hand at LIAIGRE in New York to discuss it in front of an elegant, worldly crowd. Her book explores the similarities and differences between American and French cultures that she’s noticed in her 20 years of living in New York. She shares her thoughts about style, beauty, inspiration, and, as the subtitle suggests, seduction.
Malandrino writes with a sense of authority, and the advice in her book comes across as conversational, inspiring, and never didactic. In much the same way, she charmed the audience at LIAIGRE, as only a French woman could, with her joie de vivre and incredible style. Here, in Catherine Malandrino’s words, are a few of the takeaways from our interview that kept the audience rapt while they sipped Champagne.
- “French men embrace the imperfections in women, and you don’t need to be perfect to be loved. The more confident you are with yourself, the more welcome and loved you will be.”
- “There’s a great group of women carrying on French heritage style today: Charlotte Gainsbourg balances the masculine and feminine in a way that is very Parisian. Audrey Tatou is very pimpante (clean, neat, and fresh). She’s not known as a great beauty, but French men aren’t looking for that, they want charm. Marion Cotillardis elegant and sensual but quirky.”
- “America has a lot to offer. Everything is possible, and there’s an energy where people want to work and make it happen. The women have determination, and you don’t see that in France.”
- “French and American women have a mutual admiration. Jacqueline Kennedy captured French style, and inspired American women to be their best. As the First Lady, she shared this French je ne sais quoi to American women. And I wish more First Ladies were like that!”
- “There’s a secret in that. It’s consciousness. If you live too quickly, you can lose what is the most important in life. You have to appreciate everything. You don’t a million flowers to enjoy one flower. You don’t need a million-course meal to enjoy one truffle. You don’t need a five-hour lunch to enjoy one glass of wine. If you appreciate this, then life is beautiful.”