If you look at the cover, you will see that the “author’s” name is just as big as the book title itself. She is promoting herself and her brand. That’s pretty much the essence of it all. “In Paris” is irrelevant and I am not surprised, given the brand context the book is conveniently nestled in.
A cliched stereotype of the ultimate french girl greets us on each page and everyone is an artist, works in fashion or owns a brand or a hip café. Red lipstick included. It’s an absolute overkill on what is considered the “french chic/way of life”.
The actual writer is Lauren Bastide, former editor of French ELLE and she also has a feminist podcast called Le Poudre. I’m surprised at the brochure style, that is written in. For a former editor of a major monthly publication, this book feels rather childish and surprisingly un-sophisticated. The approach is a hard sell for Jeanne’s brand Rouje. We have the word Parisian roughly 3x on each page. Needless to say that the book becomes repetitive after the intro.
The book consists of portraits of 20 Parisians and their lives, spiked with some insights of where to have dinner, what shade of red lipstick you should wear and where to buy your flowers.
Jeanne’s brand Rouje is doing extremely well and I noticed her designs on some of the pages. She is considered THE ultimate french girl export to follow on Instagram. Even her sister’s jewellery brand Louise Damas is carefully placed inside. It seems that Jeanne Damas is trying to establish herself as the ultimate Parisian fashion and style icon, she pushes hard to be that french role model for girls worldwide. On the back, it says GQ calls her “the coolest, most beautiful french girl in France”, which is rather a silly exaggeration.
If I was really as nonchalant as she claims to be, I probably wouldn’t have put that on the book cover. Lauren Bastide labels her writing “witty and elegant” and it is neither. Besides, Jeanne and her friend took those photographs, and the style is visibly set out to be lo-fi, approachable, displaying “the ultimate Parisian” every day charm of life in the city of lights. But the simple issue I have with this is that most of the images are low res. Extremely low res. They are so blurry that it is hard to look at it. I cannot believe that a former editor of ELLE, who works with images to be printed on a daily basis, didn’t check that the images are high res enough to be printed. I believe this is one of the main reasons why this book will never be a success as “How to be Parisian wherever you are”, which is a how-to classic. This is such a beginners mistake to make and again, I’m still in disbelief about this as the writer once worked full time for a printed publication. Not sure if those images were taken on iPhone or some crappy vintage camera but those images are simply unacceptable. That’s not très charmant Jeanne, its unprofessional. How much were you in a hurry to get this out? On a whole, the book includes some insider addresses for vintage shopping and fine dining but other than that, the portraits of those girls are shallow as can be. It is all about that café au lait, red lipstick and working in fashion in Paris. You get the idea. I hope this book doesn’t make you feel a certain way about your normal life (or buy some of her overpriced polyester dresses to “feel french”). If you want to know what it’s like to live in Paris, my tip: Go to Paris. No need to pay for an idea sold to you by a fashion brand.