The chic French brand to know if you already love Sezane

balzac paris
Balzac Paris is the chic French brand to know nowBalzac Paris

If, like us, you're a sucker for the 'je ne sais quoi' cool of affordable luxury French brands, you'll love Balzac Paris.

Sezane may count the likes of Sienna Miller and the Princess of Wales among its celebrity fans, but we're always looking to get ahead of the Next Big Thing – and we reckon we've found it.

Balzac Paris has actually been around for a decade, but it only launched in the UK last October, suitably celebrating its arrival on British shores by promptly launching a collab with heritage British countrywear brand Barbour. Rest assured that every piece is still designed in Balzac's Paris atelier, so it's authentic French woman chic you're shopping here.

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'The Balzac Paris range is created with the utmost attention to detail,' co-founder Chrysoline de Gastines told us. 'Revamped Victorian and Peter Pan collars, ruffles, leopard print, stripes and key colours such as pink and red are all Balzac signatures, which we enjoy reinventing season after season with our unique 'classic-eccentric' touch.'

The brand's bestsellers include transeasonal white blouses that will never leave your wardrobe (see below for our Fashion Director's proof); the beautiful leather Sofia bucket bags and sell-out Caesar crossbodys (our favourite has a leopard print strap, but there's a new raffia stunner for summer); and many a simply yet exquisitely cut dress for your workwear repertoire.

Predictably given how much the fashion set are loving them this season, multiple styles of leopard print trousers also dominate Balzac's current Top 20 list. Committed leopard print lover, believing like we do that it's a neutral and timeless, rather than a trend? Get yourself over to Balzac's 'leopard mania' collection, full of 'daring looks that boost your confidence', including puff-sleeve dresses, everyday denim, elevated knitwear, chic swimwear and even trainers. We want it all.

It's also no secret how much we love stripes at Red; our Editor in Chief, Sarah Tomczak, can't get enough, with at least one striped piece always featuring in her monthly shopping picks. So, Balzac's motto that "stripes are the new leopard" is music to our stripe-obsessed ears, not that we needed telling.

New stripes this season come in pink and green – such a gorgeous colour combo. How cute is this jumpsuit? Or, more classic, this monochrome striped dress is sure to get a lot of wear, making it a steal for £110.

Liking the sound of all this? Know too that Balzac claims to be the first French brand to offer shoppers both a responsible and desirable range of clothing – an innovative concept upon its launch ten years ago.

Its sustainability ethos involves producing small collections made with eco-friendly materials requiring fewer polluting processes – disappointing if you miss the boat on a piece you love (ahem, these pink parasol trousers), or fancied a Black Friday discount, but much better for the planet.

In France, customers are also able to recycle their old Balzac Paris pieces in store, with the brand then using them in the creation of new styles for a zero-waste approach.

balzac paris
Balzac Paris

When we asked Chrysoline how she would describe the Balzac woman, she summed her up as someone who 'wields her credit card like a voting card, subscribing to values and wanting to contribute to a fairer fashion world while indulging herself'.

'She loves prints, colours and, like us, she has an eye for detail and beautiful fabrics,' she said. 'She enjoys dressing up and finding that soulful addition to her outfits which sets her apart.'

balzac paris
Balzac Paris

In terms of inspirations, Chrysoline has many. 'Every season I work on a theme with my style director and their team, which then sets the tone for the rest of the collection,' she said. 'This is really a call to escape to a place where imagination and creativity are limitless.

'This summer, we're celebrating our 10th anniversary, and that milestone has been an endless source of inspiration, starting with our customers who have followed us all these years, always wearing and reinventing our pieces.'

The Balzac Paris pieces our Fashion Director loves

Our Fashion Director, Oonagh Brennan, often wears Balzac Paris to the Red office, so we asked her to share her hero pieces. Here they are if you want to do what we did and add them straight to basket...

'My obsession with Balzac started with their iconic striped ruffle neck cotton shirt. I will wear the romantic white version with dark denim flared jeans and chunky gold jewellery.'

'It’s all about smart white shorts this summer; I’ll wear these with a blazer and ballet flats.'

'These gloss leather sandals will add a rocky edge to everything. Wear with ankle cropped trousers and pretty summer dresses.'

More of our favourite Balzac Paris pieces to shop now...

This pretty dress is the epitome of romantic with its puffed sleeves and pleats – perfect for strolling through Mediterranean towns this summer.

We can never own to many striped shirts; they're just the ultimate staple for every occasion, including over a black swimsuit.

Nod to the utility dressing trend with this cool jumpsuit that manages to be both structured and relaxed at the same time. Just add trainers.

Balzac's Bree tees have our heart. They're so simple yet stylish with their slightly loose fit, and come in a ton of different prints and colours.

Candy cane stripes and smocking? This is our kind of shirt.

We love a super soft cardigan to elevate any outfit, and we adore this one's elegant ecru colour for on-trend tonal looks.

'Investing in a pair of leopard print trousers is the coolest thing you can do for your wardrobe right now,' says our Fashion Director. These are our top pick.

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