Clarent and Carole Dehlouz; the interior of a FrenchTrotters shop.
Native Parisian Clarent Dehlouz opened the first FrenchTrotters store in the Bastille area with his wife, Carole, in 2005, at a time when, according to Clarent, the local retail scene was "quite poor." But by bringing together brands influenced by their travels (both studied photography abroad), the couple was able to add labels like Engineered Garments from New York, Acne and Our Legacy from Stockholm, and YMC from London.
A look from FrenchTrotters Homme Fall/Winter 2013.
Following the success of the first shop, Clarent and Carole opened a menswear-only outpost of FrenchTrotters in the Marais district, and the following year they launched a unisex house label with "a strong focus on craft and nice fabrics." Just over a year ago, the Marais location was expanded into the brand's flagship, which sells a selection of clothing and home goods alongside their own line.
We asked Clarent and Carole to describe the fashion and food scenes in Paris right now, and to share some of their favorite spots in the city.
Tell us about the current state of Parisian menswear. Are you noticing any predominant trends?
We're in the middle of a transition. We've had a few years of heritage overdose—it was all about "classic" and "timeless." Now we're having a streetwear revival as well as some very creative and flashy fashion inspired by brands such as Kenzo and Carven. It makes for a very interesting mix.
Looks from Brooklyn We Go Hard and two from AMI.
What up-and-coming menswear designers and new shops are on your radar?
Among the great new Parisian labels there's AMI, Commune de Paris, Brooklyn We Go Hard, and Larose, to name a few.
Our favorite stores are a cactus shop called Les Succulents Cactus, a Japanese bookstore called Junku, Astier de Vilatte, Le Bon Marché, Aesop shops, all the second-hand camera shops on Avenue Beaumarchais like Odeon and Le Moyen Format, Jacques Genin for the best chocolates (pictured below), and the Impossible shop for Polaroid stuff.
Where do you head out after a long day's work?
We're not nightlife people, but when we go for a cocktail we go to Candelaria (52 Rue de Saintonge, 3e, pictured below), a small, hidden bar designed in all wood. You have to push a door at the back of a tiny taco restaurant to get in. If you don't know exactly where to look, you won't find it.
We have a long list of favorite restaurants, but a few of the best include:
L'Office (3 Rue Richer) is a small and intimate place where you only have to choose between two appetizers, two main courses, and two desserts. Plus, they have very good wine.
L'ébauchoir (43 Rue de Cîteaux), a Parisian bistro/gastro restaurant with an amazing wine list. You have to try their foie gras poelé!
La Barcarola d'Angelo (51 Rue Basfroi), where Chef Angelo cooks fresh and authentic Italian food. You'll find nothing fancy here, just amazing pastas, good wine, and a warm welcome.
As for cafés, our favorites are:
Ten Belles (10 Rue de la Grange aux Belles), a small but charming and very laid-back space to enjoy truly great barista coffee. They also have excellent sandwiches and cake.
Le Progrès (1 Rue de Bretagne) is the historical High Marais bistro. If you're looking for an authentic Parisian atmosphere to have lunch or just go for a drink, you must stop here. They've got the best croque monsieurs. It's located right next to our Marais store so it's like our second office.
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