If you've visited Paris in the last few years - or London in more recent months - chances are you'll have seen quite a few boutiques belonging to The Kooples. And even if you missed them, you've probably seen the fairly prominent ad campaign featuring real life couples, posing in very chic clothes. The Kooples (a spin on how 'couples' is pronounced in French), is a bit of a phenomenon that started in Paris and is currently sweeping the UK. The label was founded by the Elisha brothers (Alexander, Laurent and Raphael), who are also responsible for the successful Comptoir des Cotonniers - a brand known for highlighting a different relationship: their ads feature real life mothers and daughters.
The Kooples concept is based on the idea that people in relationships frequently borrow each other's clothes. And since it's usually the women who steal their boyfriends' shirts, blazers or accessories, it's not surprising that the majority of the collection is slightly more masculine and androgynous than girly. While I was initially told that the clothes were 'unisex', there are two distinct collections for men and women which are meant to complement each other. The line focuses on perfectly tailored clothes with a rock vibe. Most of the buttons, embroidery or jewelry feature the signature skull logo, which give classic blazers and military coats a bit of an edge.
The first time I entered one of the Parisian boutiques, I was instantly addicted. I'll start off by mentioning that the prices aren't the lowest, but the quality and tailoring of the garments are superior to what you'll find in most high street stores. The monochromatic color scheme of the shops is identical in each location, and decor is kept to a minimum. The only notable elements are the campaign posters on the walls and a classic couch near the changing rooms. The staff is generally quite knowledgeable and if you end up in one of the new London flagships, you'll note that most of them are French as well.
Some of the best pieces include blazers, such as the velvet version (left) or the light summer one (right).
It's worth mentioning that the accessories and shoes are just as coveted. Usually adorned with mini skulls, they're a good alternative if you're not in the market for another blazer. Delicate lace and silks are often used for dresses, skirts and shorts, and provide a more feminine style if you're worried about looking too much like your other half. This is probably the kind of label hipsters will flock to, but thankfully the selection is versatile enough to be combined with anything you might already have in your closet.
If you're in the UK and Ireland, the good news is that The Kooples are rapidly expanding, but I'm guessing that other countries will follow soon. In Paris, there are several boutiques in every arrondissement, so you'll be spoiled for choice. If you're in France or Great Britain though, you can always take advantage of the very tempting online store - filled with items that are very hard to resist.
Address: various locations throughout France, UK & Ireland.
Opening Hrs: Mon: 11:00-19:00, Tue-Fri: 10:30-19:30, Sat: 10:30-20:00
The Kooples Homepage France / Great Britain