Rules To Live By Fashion

The Frankie Shop’s Gaëlle Drevet Reveals the One Fashion Look the French Can’t Pull Off

Gaëlle Drevet. Photography by Andrew Jacobs. All images courtesy of The Frankie Shop.

What does it mean to be living in a post-office era? That’s what Frankie Shop founder Gaëlle Drevet is calling this decentralized, remote period of working life. The fashion brand’s latest pop-up is set in an abandoned office space on West Hollywood’s Sunset Boulevard. Crosby Studios founder Harry Nuriev outfitted the space with the remnants of capitalistic fare: stacked rolling chairs, empty binders, water coolers run dry.

While office buildings are crumbling upon their once sturdy foundations, sartorial touchpoints from their hallowed halls are seeping into the day-to-day. The “office siren” has emerged as a new fashion archetype, thin metal glasses perched upon her nose, tight-fit sweater buttoned all the way up. Drevet’s new collection, shown in The Frankie Shop Goes to Hollywood pop-up, features actor Demi Moore in a number of reimagined business styles, most crafted with power-suit pinstripe fabrics.

“It's very gray, it's very nineties, it's a little bit of a different era,” says Drevet of the pop-up, which took place ahead of Frieze Los Angeles late last month. Even at the brand’s most conceptual, there’s a restraint to the clothes and setting. First and foremost, the ethos of Frankie Shop is derived from a desire to make investment pieces and Drevet’s own French stylistic roots. Here, the New Yorker shares her tips for playing with proportion, dressing for the occasion, and knowing when to put on a kitten heel.

Can tell me a little bit about how you dressed when you were a kid. Is there anything you wore that you thought was the coolest thing?

I've had different eras. I grew up in France, so there's definitely a French side to dressing, but I had a few nicknames and one of them was Deee-Lite as in “Groove Is In The Heart.” Another one was Le Vert, which means “the green,” because I would go out in this crazy apple green satin trench. So when I was 18, I definitely went bold. I wore crazy colors, and I probably paid my color dues for the rest of my life since now I don't really wear any.

Demi Moore in The Frankie Shop x Crosby Studios Campaign. Photography by Collier Schorr.

Are there particular elements that you really like in the way people approach dressing?

French style is my origin and it teaches you how to put things together and to be a little reserved in the way you dress, but I totally appreciated and went for everything that New York  and London had to offer in terms of fashion. I just thought it was mind-blowing. No one looks at you in the street, where in Paris you walk around and the women are literally checking you up and down. I was always so offended. I was like, "What do you want to tell me? Do I have a potato on my face, or what is it?"

The French are always put together no matter what. Even if they try to look scruffy, they just don't know how to do it. They don't have the formula. They never know how to let go a little bit. They will never be wild at night. I think in France people prefer to look like they never try too hard. That's what Coco Chanel used to say and she was right. Never overdressed, ever, ever, ever, ever—that's one thing the French don't do.

When you're walking down the street and you notice someone's style, what is it that draws you to them?

I love people who know how to play with proportion. I love people who know how to be elegant but effortless at the same time. To me, being comfortable and having the most beautiful allure is pretty hard to achieve. But it's possible and it's the two things that I'm really looking at when I feel someone looks really beautiful. Audrey Hepburn knew how to master this style of being dressed down but at the same time so chic.

There's little codes here and there that you can use. The codes come from the proportion—it's what you use to balance things out. If you wear a shirt with a blazer, it can look a little too businessy. You want to avoid that, so you wear a t-shirt to break the look. I think about all these things in the morning.

So let’s play a quick game here. Can you tell me what you would wear if you're going to spend the whole day at the office?

A blazer, a black pant (or burgundy or navy), and if I have a knit with shoulder pads, I just wear the knit and a coat or jacket or scarf. If I have a t-shirt, then I'll just probably wear a blazer. Sometimes I wear kitten heels and then I regret it almost right away because I bike everywhere. I'm on the go, and I don't have a driver so it has to be comfortable all day.

The Frankie Shop x Crosby Studios pop-up. Photography by Josh Cho.

So then a boot or a sneaker?

I used to wear sneakers a lot, and I kind of stopped. I even bought those New Balance ones that everybody was wearing at some point. They're brand new still in my closet. Frankly, I find sneakers really hard to wear in the morning. I have The Row boots with laces that have no zipper on the side. I have to carefully plan it the day before if I'm gonna wear those because I need to take at least five minutes to put these freaking shoes on.

I feel that the sneaker trend kind of sailed away.  It was there when Phoebe was rocking hers and she definitely made those cool, and I guess the Balenciaga sneakers as well were definitely something that we used to wear. I find it too undressed. It's not even the sporty part of it because I don't mind sporty, it just needs to work with the right outfit. I'm more like a leather shoe person.

What about for a dinner party or a dinner out?

When you go for dinner or when you go to a party, you need to think about the upper part of your body because nobody sees the bottom part. If you wanna make a statement or at least look like you've made an effort, the shoes are not really gonna help you here. I usually wear a blazer dress with nothing underneath, knee high boots, bold jewelry. I like big necklaces, big earrings and if not, one shoulder. I love one shoulder. It’s like revealing a little without revealing too much. For a casual dinner you can leave the way you were during the day and you just go straight to your dinner. You put on a little lipstick and that’s it.  Lift the collar of your shirt, open some buttons to show a little bit of cleavage, nice necklace. Boom.

Gaëlle Drevet’s Rules to Live By

  1. Always remember the power of a shoe. It really can make or break the look. If you’re wearing a cropped pair of pants, try to wear something fitted around your ankle—fitted boots or a little kitten heel. If you’re wearing an oversized bottom and top, then gather it together with pointy shoes. You can wear sneakers with an oversized look, but you have to be a bit tall for that. Unfortunately, otherwise it just looks like a giant bag of potatoes!
  2. Always start your day with lemon juice and water in the morning.
  3. Never forget that every day, something’s gonna give. You just don’t know what it will be.
  4. Never look back except to learn from your mistakes.
  5. Never go to the supermarket when you are hungry.