Let’s be honest, we Americans tend to be a teeny bit jealous of French women–their style, their attitude, their seemingly effortless ability to hoof it in four-inch heels on historic cobblestone streets on the daily. Impressionnant. I would readily admit this amiable jealousy in a nanosecond. After all, everyone knows I secretly (or not-so-secretly) wish I were French. However, sometimes, and to the slight shock of many American women like myself, such ardent admiration crosses the pond going the opposite direction…
Enter Anaïs Bouchard, a beautiful French woman living in NYC with enviable style. Bouchard also happens to head her very own line of lingerie and loungewear cleverly entitled Be Naïs–a lingerie line inspired by American street culture, that is. VG recently had the plaisir of asking Anaïs a few questions about her upcoming line packed full of fun, flirty (and comfortable!) pieces, which is set to hit the interwebs–and bedrooms–in early January 2012.* We all know that half of the fashion game is staying ahead of the curve, so listen up, ladies!
Your line is heavily inspired by American culture, specifically urban street culture. As a French woman living in NYC, are there ever times when you find yourself inspired by your homeland as well? If so, how, and if not, why?
I always have the base of my inspiration from my homeland. But the thing is that I’ve always been attracted to other cultures. From Africa to Japan, or from United States to India, it is really amazing to mix the cultures. For the Naïs collections, I wanted the brand to be American before everything else because I think that American women need to recognize themselves in a lingerie/loungewear brand [that] they can wear every day. At the same time, it is amazing for me to design collections that are totally different from the European vision of lingerie. I love that. But I don’t deny who I am, so there will always be a French touch: using silk for a tee, the high-rise shape, the low back drapée, touches of lace…
Be Naïs is also inspired by NYC’s ‘underground music scene.’ What is currently on rotation on your iPod? What musicians inspire you the most?
For the NYC music scene, I would say Ratatat, Matthew Hemerlein, the label Fool’s Gold [has] a lot of really good artists and there is this band, Moon Hooch, who I discovered on the subway. My last downloads were Cassius’s Les enfants and Arcadine, Nadéah’s album, Kanye’s Soul Mixshow by A-Trak and the last Lenny Kravitz. But I have this 90s hip hop playlist that I am listening to a lot right now: Snoop Dogg, J Dilla, Kaze. When I design, I often listen to The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, [it’s] just the best album ever for me.
We American gals look up to countless French style icons, from Charlotte Gainsbourg and Clémence Posey to Brigitte Bardot and Catherine Deneuve—we could go on all day. Do French women have a comparable list of American style icons?
That’s funny, because each time someone asks me to pick an icon, I choose Josephine Baker. So yes, we have a list of American style icons, starting with Marilyn, of course! Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, Madonna, Michael Jackson, Lady Gaga… there are a lot!
If you had to describe Be Naïs in three words, what would they be?
Fresh, positive, comfortable, casual, off-beat, urban, original–sorry I never stick to the questions! But if you really want three words, ‘urban crafted lingerie.’
*The Be Naïs line will be available for wholesale preorder starting at the end of November and online via the label’s official online shop in January 2012.
Photos provided courtesy of youreatulle.blogspot.com