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11 brands that will make you look like a Parisian style icon

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There is no magic formula for achieving that effortlessly chic French look - but buying clothes from the same shops as the Parisian it-girls is a good place to start.

Paris is famous for its fashion houses - Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent and Isabel Marant, to name but a few - but there is also a crop of French clothing labels that successfully bridge the gap between high-end and high street.

Key to achieving Gallic style is shunning loud trends in favour of well-fitting, flattering items - investing carefully in pieces that will remain chic, cool, elegant for years. As Paris Fashion Week gets in full swing, we've gathered 11 French brands that offer clothes with that je ne sais quoi, without couture prices. Don't get us wrong, many items (£70 t-shirts, £230 dresses) may be posh payday purchases, "investment pieces," or items to put on your wish list, but these French retailers provide the kind of clothes that will still be favourites for years to come.

SANDRO

Injecting a dose of Sandro into your wardrobe is not likely to be an investment you'll regret. An 80s-born label intent on making French fashion more affordable than the offerings of high-end fashion houses, wife and husband duo Didier and Evelyne Chétrite are behind the brand's timeless offerings.

Velvet 'Janet' skirt, £175, Selfridges, Rozabel dress, £229, Selfridges

ETRE CECILE

A luxury T-shirt label founded last year by four fashion industry experts to bring French ready-to-wear to the masses, Etre Cécile is defined by its humourous, high-impact slogan tees and counts Cara Delevingne among its fans.

This month the brand invited US blogger Leandra Medine aka the Man Repeller to design a range - a collaboration that produced the ingenious 'Boob Pocket' T-shirt...

Above: Two T-shirts from the range, priced £70 - £80

VANESSA BRUNO ATHE

The renowned designer launched the Athe label in 1999 alongside her mainline collection, to offer the same elegant, feminine clothes in every day styles.

Baya embellished dress £300, Matches, Shell top £185, Asos

CARVEN

A French fashion house with serious clout, Carven began in 1945 and quickly had royals and film stars clamouring to wear its designs. Under Guillaume Henry it continues to thrive, creating feminine silhouettes and signature prints that we could wear day-to-night:

Above: Grey T-shirt, £130, My Wardrobe Leopard print wool-blend skirt, £310, Harvey Nichols

COMPTOIR DES COTONNIERS

CDC, which celebrates it's 20th birthday next year, is a go-to French brand for timelessly chic wardrobe staples in quality fabrics. Trenches are its bestseller and we're enamoured by the the boots, bags and coats - particularly these two below:

Trench cape with removable hood, £300, fur-wool oversized coat, £285, Comptoir Des Cotonniers

THE KOOPLES

You know the concept - good-looking, stylish couples dressed in rocky, androgynous French styling. Founded in 2008, the Paris-based brand has successfully infiltrated the UK high street. We're big fans of this boyfriend shirt and easy-to-wear 'dipping print' jeans.

Shirt, £130, jeans, £140, from Kooples.co.uk

ISABEL MARANT ETOILE

Trend-making Isabel Marant launched her purse-friendlier little sister line in 2000 and it's graduated into an A-lister's must-have label, with the likes of Rihanna, Cameron Diaz and Rosie Huntingdon-Whiteley sporting its laid-back designs.

Daphne wool-blend coat, £380, Matches, Hana carpet-print jumper, £175, Matches

ZADIG ET VOLTAIRE

Pure Parisian cool. Created by Thierry Gillier and now under the helm of Cecilia Bonstrom, the label offers a mix of preppy and rock chic - think wearable cashmere, tailored Teddy Boy blazers, staple leathers and bad girl boots.

Jumper, £270, Zadig et Voltiare, boots, £475, Zadig et Voltiare

A.P.C.

A.P.C. (which stands for Atelier de Production et de Création) began in 1987 as an early pioneer of premium-yet-accessible, timeless French fashion. It offers a minimal, or as founder Jean Touitou describes it, "hysterically normal" aesthetic.

Mister T patch jumper, €145 (£113), A.P.C. Agathe dress, €265 (£207) A.P.C.'''

ESTELLE DEVE

Parisian-born, Australia-based Estelle Dévé is a self-taught jewellery-maker who set up her hugely successful line in 2008. We love the chunky-yet-intricate statement necklaces and bangles and bright, delicate rings. Another draw - especially for anyone without pierced ears - are the beautiful magnetic earrings.

Owl magnetic earrings, £150, Estelle Deve, Yuk Ting ring, £170, Estelle Deve - both with Swarovski crystal pearls

MAJE

Embodying a bohemian Parisian spirit, Maje is all about tactile materials and daring prints. Created by Judith Milgrom, sister of the creator of Sandro, Alexa Chung has previously fronted campaigns for the brand. A selection of the range is available online from Net-A-Porter and items from the brand's online store (examples below) will soon be available in Britain. Watch this space.

Dress, €165 (£129), top €175 (£127)

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