Sandro Parisian chic at its finest. (Photo: Instragram)
Beauty trends whir by a mile a minute, but if there’s one lasting look that’s eternally chic it’s the effortless composure of the chic Frenchwoman. Anglos have been coveting the je ne sais quoi of Gallic mademoiselles and madames for centuries. But what might the quintessentially elegant Frenchwoman have that her brethren might also gain? Per Sandro founder Evelyne Chétrite, the formula isn’t so much individual tips or beauty products but rather a different approach to living life.
Sometimes, the sharpest perspective is one that started as an outsider. Chétrite’s story began in Morocco. “I have always been surrounded by color, vibrancy, and beautiful things,” she says. “My childhood left me with memories of fabric markets brimming with colors and prints, piles of shirts painstakingly crafted by my grandfather, who was a custom tailor.”
By 15, Chétrite had moved to Paris and those bazaars had been replaced by fancy department store windows. “I was also impressed by the naturally elegant Parisian woman,” she confesses. She was studying law, though, at the University of Paris, when she met her husband, Dider Chétrite. “He had just created a ready-to-wear business and we quickly realized that we were working very well together,” she says. Their chemistry spawned not just a marriage, but a lasting business: “He turned me away from the studies and Sandro was born in 1984.”
Sandro founder Evelyne Chétrite is the epitome of cool. (Photo: Sandro)
From the beginning, Chétrite ditched the typical female archetypes in favor of something more real. Modern French fashion has always contained an element of contradiction—particularly the juxtaposition of the ultra-feminine (Sonia Rykiel tie-neck blouses) with the masculine (Coco Chanel and her rule-breaking louche trousers). Sandro, too, came to represent “a woman with a chic, androgynous yet feminine style,” Chétrite says. “She is confident and independent.” She feels individuality and personality are key to the way women dress nowadays more than ever. Her motto? “Dans l’air du temps,” which means it’s about expressing the actual fashion of the times. As for her own style, Chétrite says, “I just like to feel cool and modern in my clothes – and not looking like I’m in a disguise.”
The brand’s founder continues with this expanded definition of French chic (you’ll want to bookmark this): “I don’t think there is any secret. I would rather talk about lifestyle ‘à la Parisienne,’ this kind of chic nonchalance, where women do not really care too much—unfazed by dictates of what is appropriate for a certain time of day. They are just feeling good in what they wear, mixing pieces and thinking functionality instead of being over dressed. From there, the rule number one is to keep the things that work well on you, well-cut basics that work for sure. And never try too hard, or make sure it doesn’t look like you’ve spend hours working on your outfit, even if you did.”
Chetrite applies that same #IWokeUpLikeThis pragmatism to her beauty routine. Here, a few of her favorites:
To pamper my skin I… “use a lot of moisturizing face masks—they give a freshness to the skin. I love the ones by Biologique Recherche.”
The makeup I use regularly is… “a lot of Bobbi Brown eyeshadows ($24). I particularly like a dark grey brown tone.”
I’m never without…“my Baume Beauté Éclair from Clarins ($46).”
I swear by… “visits to the hammam at the Bristol Spa once a month, and every morning I drink hot lemon water first thing.”
French beauty, though, is not just about products and services… “I don’t think the beauty culture is a particular strength of the French girls who would rather go for natural makeup. Nowadays, beauty is deeply linked with life philosophy: Having a healthy-living routine, which includes taking care of yourself by eating good things for your body and exercising at least once a week.
Beauty words to live by… “Massage, rest, and relaxation!”