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Fashionably French: Inspiration to Read and Watch Today

Inspired and informed by our series of Indagare Insider Journeys to Paris with Vogue, we’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite fashion-focused novels, nonfiction books and films. We hope this list will allow lovers of fashion and Paris to enrich their understanding of the history and heritage of French style.

Contact your Trip Designer or Indagare, if you are not yet a member, to start planning a trip to Paris. Our team can match you with the itineraries, accommodations, reservations and guides that are right for you.


Mrs. 'Arris Goes to Paris by Paul Gallico, 1958

Mrs. Harris, a widowed cleaning lady in 1950s London, falls head-over-heels for a couture Dior dress in her employer's closet. Raising the funds to embark on a Parisian adventure, Gallico’s novel follows Mrs. Harris to the House of Dior and the friendships made (and lessons learned) along the way. (Bloomsbury)

The Queen of Paris: A Novel of Coco Chanel by Pamela Binnings Ewen, 2021

Pamela Binnings Ewen’s novel peeks behind the public persona and into an imaginative hidden life of Coco Chanel during the four years of Nazi occupation in Paris. (Blackstone Publishing)

Travel this fall in style with this exclusive shopping edit from Mytheresa. Plus, explore all of our packing guides—for beach, ski, safari and more—here.


The Beautiful Fall: Fashion, Genius, and Glorious Excess in 1970s Paris by Alicia Drake, 2007

British fashion journalist Alicia Drake The Beautiful Fall is a comprehensive biography of the rivalry between Karl Lagerfeld and Yves Saint Laurent in 1970s Paris. (Little, Brown and Company)

Miss Dior: A Wartime Story of Courage and Couture by Justine Picardie, 2023

A story of fascism, freedom and fashion (and the hidden secrets a beautiful surface can conceal), Miss Dior is a portrait of the courageous, enigmatic and ultra-chic woman behind Christian Dior: his younger sister, Catherine. Not only the muse for his most famous perfume, Catherine was a dedicated French Resistance fighter and later deported to a German concentration camp. Picardie’s moving book shines new light on Catherine’s life and Christian’s work with unparalleled access to the Dior family archives and home. (Picador)

Paris Chic by Alexandra Senes, 2020

Stroll down picturesque side streets lined with bistros and discover artists’ studios and sophisticated homes in the City of Light with Paris Chic, photography by Oliver Pilcher and words by Alexandra Senes. (Assouline)

Parisian Chic Encore: A Style Guide by Inès de la Fressange and Sophie Gachet, 2019

Iconic Parisienne Inès de la Fressange and Paris’s fashion authority Sophie Gachet have updated their New York Times best-seller with an encore edition. What’s inside: the authors’ personal style tips, wardrobe essentials, Inès’s 10-minute beauty routine and how to throw the perfect Parisian dinner party. (Rizzoli)

Related: Indagare Global Conversations Episode 3.03: Inès de la Fressange

Dress Like a Parisian by Aloïs Guinut, 2018

A witty guide to finding your personal style by taking inspiration from how real Parisian women dress from personal stylist and fashion blogger Aloïs Guinut. Explore shapes, styles and colors that work best for you, along with Parisian style secrets and how to enhance your wardrobe and reject fashion rules. The book includes Paris street photography and illustrations by acclaimed fashion illustrator, Judith van den Hoek. (Octopus Books)

Coco Chanel: The Legend and The Life by Justine Picardie, 2011

The updated edition of the definitive biography of Coco Chanel is filled with never-before-seen photos and fresh new research on the iconic woman and her haute couture empire. Aside from inventing legendary looks like the little black dress, contemporary chic trousers for women and best-selling perfumes, Chanel also invented herself and the myth of her own life. With more details on her humble early years and profound connections to the other greats of her time (like Diaghilev and Picasso), Coco Chanel: The Legend and The Life constructs a deeper look into the woman through interviews with friends, employees, relatives and more from the Chanel archives. (HarperCollins Publishers)

Karl Lagerfeld: A Life in Fashion by Alfons Kaiser, 2022

Written by journalist Alfons Kaiser, who knew Lagerfeld personally for many years, Karl Lagerfeld: A Life in Fashion introduces both the public and private life of the uber-famous, yet ultra-mysterious fashion icon. Exploring the many eras and sides of Lagerfeld's life: his youth and his passion for photography and book collecting; workaholic, lover, rival, genius–despite being a living logo, who really was Karl? (Cernunnos)

Shocking Life: The Autobiography of Elsa Schiaparelli by Elsa Schiaparelli, 1954

One of the leading fashion designers for three decades (1920s, 30s and 40s), Elsa Schiaparelli continues to be known best for her bold, daring and extremely covetable design choices. Her fascinating autobiography begins in a rat-infested Roman apartment, touching on the years she worked for the American Red Cross and finishing with her success in fashion and role as designer to the stars. (V&A Publishing)

Related: Melissa Biggs Bradley’s Secret Salons in Paris


Coco Before Chanel, Anne Fontaine, 2009

Like the title suggests, the film follows a young Coco Chanel (Audrey Tautou) before her groundbreaking empire. Working as a seamstress by day and a cabaret entertainer by night, a fateful encounter with a wealthy heir will change the course of her life forever. Becoming both his lover and fashion consultant, Coco begins to build her brand of sophisticated women’s clothing.

L’Amour fou, Jacques Rivette, 1969

Filmed in black and white with two different film gauges (35mm and 16mm), L’Amour fou follows the dissolution (and long cycle of self-destruction) of the marriage between Claire, an actress, and Sebastien, her director.

The Mysterious Mr. Lagerfeld, Michael Waldman, 2023

Michael Waldman’s documentary is a portrait of one of the most charismatic and legendary designers (and showman) of fashion history–including interviews with his inner circle and full of delicious vignettes of this famously mysterious mega-celebrity).

Nose, Clément Beauvais, 2021

With exclusive access to Dior’s “Maison de Parfums” creative process, this documentary provides a behind-the-scenes look at this prestigious perfume empire and uncovers the fascinating role of “the Nose” at Dior.

7 Days Out, Netflix, 2018

While this multi-part documentary series covers the intense and emotion-filled lead up to various high-stakes events, don’t miss the episode following Karl Lagerfeld and the ultra-high-drama week going into his Spring/Summer 2018 Chanel Haute Couture show.

Related: Paris Art Insider: Le Royal Monceau’s Julie Eugène

Haute Couture, Sylvie Ohayon, 2021

A chance encounter between Esther, head seamstress at Dior Avenue Montaigne, and Jade, a young pickpocket on the metro, will lead to an opportunity to pass on the craft of dressmaking–and a message of la beauté du geste (or “a fine gesture").

Saint Laurent, Bertrand Bonello, 2014

Director Bertrand Bonello tells the story of iconic Yves Saint Laurent during the peak of his career.

Yves Saint Laurent, Jalil Lespert, 2014

Not to be confused with Bertrand Bonello’s Saint Laurent, Lespert’s film focuses on Yves Saint Laurent when he became the head of design at the House of Dior (and the 1958 spring collection that saved the house from financial ruin).

Dior and I, Frédéric Tcheno, 2015

This documentary follows Christian Dior’s newly-appointed creative director Raf Simons and the skilled artisans who pulled together his first haute couture collection in only eight weeks.

Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris, Anthony Fabian, 2022

Based on Paul Gallico’s novel, Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris follows Mrs. Harris (Lesley Manville), a widowed cleaning lady in 1950s London, on an adventure through the City of Light to procure a bespoke gown at the House of Dior. Isabelle Huppert also stars.

Related: Indagare Recommends: The Best Rooftops in Paris

Contact your Trip Designer or Indagare, if you are not yet a member, to start planning a trip to Paris. Our team can match you with the itineraries, accommodations, reservations and guides that are right for you.

Published onAugust 31, 2023

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