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Your Guide to Manhattan's French Invasion

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It seems lately we've been hearing nonstop new tidbits of info regarding the French invasion that appears to be descending upon Manhattan. What with the side-by-side Maje and Sandro coming this fall on Bleecker Street, the Surface to Air opening we just heard about, and all the other Gallic gems that have scattered themselves around our island in the past year, it's obvious that "The British are coming!" is so three centuries ago. Hello, it's clearly the French.

Sandro on Bleecker Street


Location: 415 Bleecker Street (West Village, right next to the new Maje store)
Status: Projected to open in early fall. The line will also be picked up by Bloomingdale's 59th Street, Soho, and Short Hills soon.
The Look: Urban feminine Gallic cool: the label is known and loved for its graphic prints, hip shirt dresses, and sharp tailoring.
Trivia: Alexa Chung DJed the London store opening in 2010. Here's hoping this fall's West Village launch will be just as cool.
Website: Sandro

Maje on Bleecker Street


Location: 417 Bleecker Street (West Village) and 145 Spring Street (Soho)
Status: Both locations project an early fall opening. The line will also be picked up by Bloomingdale's 59th Street, Soho, and Short Hills soon.
The Look: Bohemian, feminine French: look for soft drapey silk dresses, knits with wool and lace, and classic leathers with feminine details.
Trivia: Maje's fall campaign features stylist/it girl/fashion editor/model/muse/daughter of Danielle Steel (did we leave anything out?) Vanessa Traina. They first approached her just to model, but soon proposed the idea of a collaboration. Her 24-piece capsule collection for Maje hit Barneys this past March.
Website: Maje

Inside the Parisian Surface to Air flagship via Surface to Air

Surface to Air

Location: 27 Mercer Street (Soho)
Status: Projected to open September 8, coinciding with Fashion's Night Out and a collaboration with Kid CuDi. Current Surface to Air stockists in the city include Barneys, Bloomingdale's, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Steven Alan.
The Look: Downtown cool: leather jackets, buckle wedges, and edgy sleek neutrals all around.
Trivia: Surface to Air is more than a fashion label: it's a unique artistic group that also ventures into graphics, photography, design, music, and films. The Surface to Air studio makes award-winning commercials, music videos, and ad campaigns. They also have a sweet blog.
Website: Surface to Air

Image via WWD

Isabel Marant

Location: 469 Broome Street (Soho)
Status: Opened April 2010.
The Look: The coolest-French-girl-you-know look: Isabel Marant is adored across the fashion world for her effortless chic aesthetic.
Trivia: Marant actually launched her accessories line in 1989, five years before she ventured into womenswear. But you'd never know it from the overwhelming clothes-to-accessories ratio in her New York store.
Website: Isabel Marant

Image via The New York Times

Comptoir des Cotonniers

Location: 345 Bleecker Street (West Village), 155 Spring Street (Soho), and 184 Columbus Avenue (Upper West Side)
Status: Open.
The Look: Timeless and wearable: the entire line is built on the idea that mothers and daughters can wear the same label. Look for soft, flattering, comfortable yet elegant styles.
Trivia: Comptoir des Cotonniers, whose name means "The Cotton Trading Post," openly casts real mother-and-daughter pairs for their campaigns. (They also have a cool blog.)
Website: Comptoir des Cotonniers

Image via Zadig & Voltaire

Zadig & Voltaire

Location: 831 Washington Street (Meatpacking), 153 Mercer Street (Soho), and 409 Bleecker Street (West Village)
Status: All open: they've opened one a year since 2009.
The Look: A "new luxury," in founder Thierry Gillier's words. The brand pushes semi-affordable laid-back looks with a downtown kick.
Trivia: Zadig & Voltaire has also recently ventured into the model/muse/designer collaborations with Erin Wasson. Her 15-piece capsule collection will hit Net-a-Porter this September before launching in stores worldwide.
Website: Zadig & Voltaire

Images via Pull-In


Location: 252 Elizabeth Street (Nolita) and 259 Bowery
Status: Both open. The Elizabeth Street location opened in 2007 and the Bowery store, which caters largely to men, opened early this summer.
The Look: Funderwear. (Is that a word?) The French underwear store is known for its bright graphic prints. Like, really bright.
Trivia: Founder Emmanuel Lohéac quit his job as an electrical engineer, headed to Paris, and opened up shop selling undies. (Another fun trivia fact we just couldn't leave out: NYMag did an "Ask a Shop Clerk" with Alexis Baternel of the Bowery store. When asked the difference between French and American underwear styles, he explained, "In Europe, our most popular prints are strawberries and stars. In the U.S., we have a lot of food prints—cupcakes, doughnuts, bananas.")
Website: Pull-In
—Lauren Budorick

· The Multitasking Parisians Behind Surface to Air Are Coming to NYC [Racked NY]
· Isabel Marant Finally, Finally Opens on Broome Street Today [Racked NY]
· Euro-Labels Maje and Sandro to Open on Bleecker This Fall [Racked NY]

Surface To Air

27 Mercer Street, New York, NY 10013 212-256-0340 Visit Website

Isabel Marant

469 Broome Street, New York, NY 10013 (212) 219-2284 Visit Website