American Retro (Paris, France)



A few seasons back, when the likes of Balmain made 80s rock chic one of the hottest looks, every high street brand released distressed, torn, studded and leather items - but there was one label that did it better than most. In fact, they even did it better than the luxury brands. When I started sighting cool French girls clad in slouchy leather jackets, checked shirts and studded ankle boots, I soon realized that American Retro was behind this - and they managed to pull off the whole rock thing without making it look costumey or fake.

FW10 collection (images: American Retro).

A selection from the SS11 lookbook (images: American Retro).

Of course the brand, which is now widely available throughout the world, wasn't always associated with an edgy rock style. Back in 2002, when it was founded by the Pariente brothers (who's parents are responsible for the famous Naf Naf label), the idea was to create clothing that would emulate the style of bohemian pieces so often found in second-hand stores in the States. Having visited the U.S. the Parientes fell in love with the denim items they found, in particular Joe's Jeans which they ended up exclusively distributing in France. Initially more popular in the U.S. market, where the hippie vintage looks were first snapped up by Fred Segal, a revised lower pricing soon made American Retro a mainstay in France, with a first boutique opening in Paris a year later. These days, American Retro is sold worldwide, has several boutiques in the French capital and has also added two additional lines to the collection: ZoeTee's and My Lovely Jean. Though some of the clothing may still have a bit of that boho retro vibe, especially the SS11 pieces, the bulk of the collection now consists of casual chic clothes with a glam edge.

Overview of the ground floor area (left) and a selection of cool tees (right).

Modern touches along a wall...

...while the rest of the store features partially exposed brick walls and wooden beams (left). More tees and antique trunks (right).

While there are plenty of Parisian American Retro stores to choose from - I believe there are seven in total - I usually prefer browsing the Marais boutique which is one of the oldest. It spans two floors, with exposed brick walls and wooden beams on the ceilings and throughout the space reminding you of the fact that you are in an old building. Most of the furniture has an antique feel as well, including scruffy wooden tables, copper coat hangers and worn trunks. In contrast, the walls of the ground floor are plastered with graffiti or collages. And then there are the clothes themselves, studded, sequined, illustrated and fur-lined - always on-trend but still wearable enough to last beyond just a season. When I went, the FW10 looks were still around, but judging from the new Spring collection, some of the vintage inspired 60s pieces might actually fit the antique decor.

More from the ground floor, where I found these very studded booties (lower left).

The army and military looks on my way to the second floor.

High ceilings and more wooden beams on the first floor.

While the majority of the trendier looks are on the ground floor, along with a large ZoeTee's section right next to the entrance, jeans and more timeless pieces, such as knits, wool jackets and blazers can be found one floor up. Passing the first flight of stairs, I was greeted by a lot of khaki green army looks, but once I arrived on the top floor, the rustic ambiance of the wooden beams almost made me feel like I'd entered another store. Looking out, I could see a little terrace belonging to the boutique, but of course the main distraction were the numerous items, especially the bags and shoes, which American Retro does so well. In the past, I've seen Ann Demeulemeester inspired lace sandals or heavily studded boots. For more unique accessories, the store now also offers candles, cushions, books and other items by various brands which can be found towards the back.

A selection of jeans and other goodies, such as the lace-up boots.

The front area featured mainly jeans and basics.

Towards the back, I found books, decor items and other gift ideas.

While I have always associated American Retro as being more rock than girly (their leather dresses, shorts and skirts are phenomenal), there are looks for everyone and as mentioned, the current season caters to the more romantic bohemian woman. If you're ever in France, this label should be on your shopping list, but even if you're not, the brand is easily found around the world and has it's own e-shop as well. The good news? Sales are still on, so click away if you want to snap up a bargain...

A quick look at the terrace (left), and an even nicer view of some leopard shoes, knits and studded tees (right).

More from the FW10 lookbook (images: American Retro).

Address: 40 rue des Francs Bourgeois, 75004 Paris
Opening Hrs: Mon-Sat: 10:30-19:30

49 comments:

  1. I can't believe I'm not familiar with this line! The space you've shown here looks gorgeous--I love the industrial feel of the exposed beams and high ceilings.

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  2. really? they do leather better than the big names? the cut of the studded boots looks good. i love high ceilings. checking out the e-shop now...

    btw, do you celebrate the lunar new year? here's wishing you and family a prosperous rabbit year!

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  3. beautiful looks! love all the store displays

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  4. Hi there-very inspirational pieces and I especially love those leopard shoes too! Great review and fabulous pictures, hope you are keeping well my dear! xx

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  5. Aaahh good, the comment function is back on; been missing it.
    Another shop on my Paris list. E-shop is good, but not quite the same as visiting the one in Le Marais.

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  6. Oh I'm in love, I want everything!

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  7. This looks like just my kind of store!

    ---
    Go on a makeup shopping spree by entering to win a $50 gift card for Apothica!
    http://highmaintenancewoman.blogspot.com/2011/02/apothica-giveaway-dear-mizzj-just-what.html

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  8. From these photos, I would definitely say that this label has a more edgy look, but it's nice to know that it wasn't always like that. And even though I'm not super edgy, there are pieces here I would buy! Great store layout too.

    http://red-soledfashionista.blogspot.com/

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  9. Love the Urban retro feel of this store. Fantastic!!

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  10. They really have some fabulous pieces.. Those leopards shoes are fabulous.
    Im sure lots of girls would be screaming for them
    Lee x

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  11. I love the fact that they have a section of the store devoted to books and gift items - such a clever idea!! :)

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  12. I love to fancy myself a "rockish" more than girlish when I dress for a night out, so I loving the look of American Retro. I haven't seen a store around my parts, but I'll keep a look out next time I visit NYC.

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  13. Their clothes are exactly something I would love to wear! Especially the leather jackets! And the fact that they have a variety of accessories and books to buy makes it even more appealing. I wasn't aware of this brand until now! xoxoxoo

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  14. I never heard of this brand but it looks very cool! I really love all of their collections! Awesome retro style! Haha. Thank you for sharing!

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  15. I, of course, had to come over immediately! How exciting is this to meet JG !!??? Isn't he amazing, fantastic, wonerful!? He is one of the most generous people I know and very kind too. I so super excited for you. Now you have to tell me everything. :-))) On the subect of the post I think I enjoyed reading your review more that the actual designs in the store. :-) You have an amazing way of what I call " seductive writing". Every time I read you I feel like grabbing my bag and going shopping. :-))) Wishing you wonderful weekend!
    P.S. I'd like to invite you to my Blog to see my new "Black Swan" hat.Your honest opinion would be greatly appreciated .:-)

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  16. American retro? I luv a lot! :D Great post as usual!

    Have a lovely weekend, my dear!

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  17. I love their looks...especially the fall/winter collection!

    ...and I feel so coordinated with your post today, since I'm wearing Joe's Jeans...hahaha!

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  18. thanks for sharing the store images. and the brand is one of my favorites. it's just great
    hope you're having a wonderful weekend
    xx

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  19. i am embarrassed to admit that i am not familiar with this line! ack! but thank you for the introduction -- it all looks amazing to me!

    have a fab weekend!

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  20. What an amazing line!
    Thanks for your comment! I just noticed that I have another follower-is it you? Thank you so much-I love your blog and will be checking back more often.

    xx
    Meera

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  21. How did I not know about this brand?! I love vintage rock glam. Sigh. At least I have you to keep me informed, so I can pretend to be cool. Hehe. ;)

    I hope you're having a good weekend, hon. xoxo

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  22. I wish we had this brand here! It looks just fabulous! Vintage rock glam gets me every time :)

    Hope you had a great weekend, honey xoxo

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  23. It's quite a feat for them to pull off the rocker look with more authenticity than the big name designers!

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  24. Love those studded boots & leopard skin shoes!Just briefly stopping by to wish you a great week ahead! Unfortunately so super, super busy all the time now! Sigh!

    XOXO Lola & Nora:)

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  25. wow! i would love to visit this shop one day :)

    xx
    heyrocketgirl

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  26. You, my friend, have convinced me that I need to go to Paris to fill up my closet. Pronto.

    I love a little rock 'n roll in my wardrobe.

    *Kelsey

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  27. I am ashamed to say I have never heard of this brand... Loving the look though and the store looks fabulous, and huge.

    It's such a great mix of *dressed up casual*, does that make sense? Very tasteful and polished, I like this a lot!

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  28. I haven't heard of this before either, but I love the photos you have shown!

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  29. This looks like a fun place to shop and thanks for sharing the great review and photos.
    It is always great to hear of new labels.

    Happy week
    Hugs
    Carolyn

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  30. Hey lady! It's so interesting to see the diversity of this brand and to learn more about it. I'm loving all of the shoes here...some really fun styles!

    Regarding your comment on my pink bike, I really need to look into your suggestion of blocker for my saddle! Never heard of it but it sounds genius! Thanks!

    xoxo
    Rachel

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  31. I WANNT VISIT THIS BOUTIQUE WHEN I GO TO FRANCE THIS MAYY !!
    the collection is simply gorgeousss !
    stunning pieces !

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  32. Wow. I love how insightful and knowledgable you are. I love the looks featured in your post. Beautiful.

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  33. Hello, darling! I was either away with the fairies or blind because I somehow thought you switched the comment section off a while go. And today I can express myself again - yay! :)

    You know, I first thought that this brand isn't for me at all, but as I scrolled to the bottom of the post, I noticed that dreamy nude dress and my heart said "oh, yesssssssssss... please". Which just shows that you never know where a new treasure can be found.

    Wonderful post and a few temptations...

    xxx

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  34. P.S. I did stop using my FashionTitbits blogs now and have a new baby, the one and only Fashioned by Love. :) So just in case you ever visit, don't feel confused. It was the time to change and start fresh for me and I am glad I did.

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  35. That American Retro store looks fantastic!! The story is spacey and easy to move around, oh and the clothes look gorgeous, too. That always helps. :)SArahD

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  36. you really have the best eye for the best shop...

    all my love for you my friend,

    Kira

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  37. yeah I like the rock look, those militairy blazers look great too. I like these rock looks because they're not overboard, just a tad bit and that's enough :D And totally agree with you on your comment!

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  38. I adore the lookbook! and your pictures are amazing!

    xx
    Leïla B
    http://Chanelaftercoco.blogspot.com

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  39. what an awesome post!!! I am in love with your blog, thank you for leaving a comment in mine =D i will be followin' ya now! xoxo

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  40. I will certainly have to keep American Retro on my radar...I see several blazers I really like.

    And I wanted to comment on the cute LV zebra display (didn't see a comment button for that post): I'm not a fan of that label either but a store window like that would definitely draw me into the shop! It's just too cute to pass up a glance inside.

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  41. Oh I like this post so much because I went that very marais shop and bought a few pieces that I still get so much wear out of - so chic, a black dress that I can change the shape of easily with a little brooch at the sleeve or belt or petticoat. LOVE. thanks for bringing back the memories; ahhh paris!

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  42. Divina firma!! Hoy me he ido de shopping a mi centro habitual, están reformandolo todo y adivina, ¡encontré esta firma! me estaba asesorando sobre que me puedo encontrar ya que estaban todavía montando la tienda, pero he podido curiosear alguna que otra prenda y me ha parecido espectacular!! Le pregunté a la chica de la tienda y me dijo que es la única que hay por el momento en BCN, así que si os va bien os doy la dirección, está en el espacio multi marca de el Corte Inglés, o también lo podemos encontrar como Sfera, en el centro de L'Illa Diagonal nº545, no solo está sino muchas firmas más exclusivas... En una semana me han dicho que me pase que ya estará acabada.. que ganas!!! Ya no me tengo que ir a Paris a encontrar mis firmas favoritas!

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