Sure, we love that French girl style — even if some say it’s fake news. The stripes, the bags, the boots: C’est très chic. (And très unfussy, despite any hardwired preconceived notions to the contrary.)
But the cross-cultural love now goes both ways, thanks to American “it” girls like Gigi and Bella Hadid, Kendall Jenner, and Emily Ratajkowski, whose bold style and fashion industry ubiquity have made quite the impact across the pond — for eight very specific reasons.
According to Vogue Paris, these fashionable Americans share quite a few noteworthy things, including a personal street style speckled with ’90s throwbacks, a healthy embrace of pop culture, and oh yes, a little thing called athleisure. Let’s break it down.
1. “An Instagram account on helium.” (“Un compte Instagram gonflé à l’hélium.”)
When it comes to the American je ne sais quoi, it’s all about that Instagram, y’all. Calling today’s top American models “une force de frappe digitale,” or “digital striking force,” the French fashion bible cites the top models’ millions of social media followers as a prerequisite for entering the couture cool kids club these days.
2. “A well-cut style.” (“Un style bien tranché.”)
They know what they like. Our local “it” girls have cultivated a well-defined style of their own, according to the magazine, by mixing and matching sportswear with edgier street style to create a decidedly American approach to everyday dressing. And they manage to find a new way to throw it back to the ’90s, Cher Horowitz-style: Vogue Paris calls out that perennial favorite film of the decade, Clueless, as an important arbiter of American style. We’d say “as if,” but it’s totally true.
3. “An intense sports routine.” (“Une routine sportive intense.”)
Enter athleisure. For the French, there’s nothing more American than the idea of the sporty California girl, paddle-boarding in Malibu or hiking the hills of Los Angeles. And only an American “it” girl could make gym wear must-wear. Until brands like Vetements and the very concept of a four-figure-priced sweatshirt entered the mix, of course.
4. “A sensitivity to pop culture.” (“Une sensibilité à la Pop Culture.”)
American “it” girls know pop culture because they are pop culture. According to Vogue Paris, local “it” girls make it more than OK that they “aiment tout ce qui est mainstream,” or “like everything mainstream,” whether it’s basketball games, In-N-Out burgers, or extra-large pizza pies.
5. “A political and feminist commitment.” (“Un engagement politique et féministe.”)
For American “it” girls, it’s cool to care. Whether it’s Kendall Jenner supporting Hillary Clinton or the Hadid sisters hitting the streets to protest, the magazine notes that contemporary American models “n’ont pas peur d’engager le débat,” or “aren’t afraid to engage in debate,” as a major reason for their international impact.
6. “They’ve bathed in Hollywood entertainment forever.” (“Elles baignent dans l’Entertainment hollywoodien depuis toujours.”)
Oh, and they grew up this way. Whether it’s reality-stars-turned-models like the aforementioned Kendall Jenner or children-of-actors-turned-catwalk-queens like Hailey Baldwin, Vogue Paris calls a childhood in or peripheral to the spotlight “le parfait training” (the perfect training) for eventual ascension to “it” girl status.
7. “Music is central.” (“La musique occupe une place centrale“)
As the French see it, music is a central tenet of American “it” girl style, from annual, fashion-forward music festivals like Coachella to the copious amount of model-musician romantic pairings. (Looking at you, Gigi and Zayn.)
8. “They are everywhere.” (“Elles sont partout.“)
Finally, when in doubt, just look around: American “it” girls are “partout,” or “all over.” They don’t just walk the runway; they collaborate with designers on the very clothing unveiled there. (Ahem, Tommy x Gigi, Chrome Hearts x Bella.) They don’t just pose for magazine spreads; they step behind the camera and photograph their peers for the very fashion magazines they themselves have appeared in. (Yep, we’re talking about Kendall’s cover shoot for Love magazine.)
Because when it comes to the American “it” girl, “La boucle est bouclée” — the circle is complete. And that? C’est bon.
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