French Designer Brands: Luxury Fashion You Must Know

Joanna Elizabeth

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Updated April 17, 2023

French Designer Brands
See the top French designer brands.

Long revered for their impeccable craftsmanship and timeless elegance, French designer brands are known for being at the forefront of the industry. Labels such as Dior, Chanel, and Louis Vuitton have become synonymous with luxury, sophistication, and a certain je ne sais quoi that sets them apart from the rest.

From their signature designs to their storied histories, these fashion powerhouses have cemented their place in the global fashion landscape, influencing style and setting trends for decades. Read on, and we will explore the world of French fashion, taking a closer look at these legendary brands that rule Paris Fashion Week and beyond.

French Designer Brands

Balenciaga

Balenciaga Brand Jacket
Balenciaga street style. Photo: eversummerphoto / Shutterstock

Balenciaga has undergone a remarkable transformation in recent years. Under the creative direction of Demna Gvasalia, Balenciaga has emerged as a French brand that blends the avant-garde with everyday, creating collections that are equal parts thought-provoking and wearable. 

Balenciaga has become a go-to for fashion insiders and street-style stars, from its signature Triple S sneakers to oversized tailoring and deconstructed denim. But beyond its immediate impact, Balenciaga’s influence can be felt across the industry as other designers scramble to keep up with Gvasalia’s innovative approach. 

With its mix of high fashion and streetwear, Balenciaga has firmly established itself as a brand constantly pushing the boundaries of what fashion can be.

Balmain

Shanelle Nyasiase poses for Balmain spring-summer 2023 campaign.
Shanelle Nyasiase poses for Balmain spring-summer 2023 campaign. Photo: Ben Hassett

Balmain, the iconic French fashion house, is known for its opulent and glamorous designs. Pierre Balmain founded it in 1945. Under the creative direction of Olivier Rousteing, the brand has continued to push the boundaries of luxury fashion with its signature embellishments, bold prints, and intricate detailing. 

Balmain’s designs are often seen on some of the world’s most influential celebrities and fashion insiders, from the runway to the red carpet. Rousteing’s bold and unapologetic vision has breathed new life into the house of Balmain, cementing its status as one of the world’s most coveted and influential fashion brands.

Celine

Celine Baie Des Anges Summer 2022 Collection
Patrycja Piekarska poses for Celine Baie Des Anges summer 2022 collection. Photo: Hedi Slimane

Celine is a luxury fashion label that has established itself as a leading force in high-end fashion. Founded in 1945 by Celine Vipiana, the brand has undergone many transformations over the years. Today, it is known for its minimalist, modern aesthetic that is both refined and avant-garde.

Under the direction of creative director Hedi Slimane, Celine has undergone a significant overhaul, redefining its signature style with a strong emphasis on sleek lines, sharp tailoring, and a rock ‘n’ roll edge. Slimane’s vision for the French clothing brand is highly influential, and his designs have been celebrated for their bold, youthful energy.

One of the key features of the Celine label is its attention to artisanship. This commitment to quality is evident in everything from the brand’s signature leather goods to its exquisite ready-to-wear collections.

Celine’s clothing collections are known for their effortless elegance, with simple yet sophisticated, wearable designs. The brand’s luxury goods, including its iconic handbags, are equally coveted, thanks to their clean lines and impeccable quality.

Chanel

Chanel Pre-Spring 2023 Collection Campaign
Vivienne Rohner stars in Chanel pre-spring-summer 2023 collection campaign. Photo: Theo Wenner

Chanel is a legendary fashion house that has become synonymous with timeless elegance, luxury, and sophistication. Founded by Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel in 1910, the French fashion brand has since become an iconic symbol of haute couture, with a reputation for producing some of the most coveted and influential designs in fashion history.

Its classic yet creative approach defines the signature Coco Chanel aesthetic, blending traditional French craftsmanship with a modern sensibility. The brand’s collections are renowned for their luxurious fabrics, impeccable tailoring, and intricate details, all of which contribute to its iconic status.

Under the creative direction of Karl Lagerfeld until his passing in 2019, Chanel has continued to push the boundaries of fashion with designs that are both bold and refined. The brand’s ready-to-wear collections feature a diverse range of styles, from sleek, minimalist looks to more ornate, statement pieces, each designed with an eye towards timelessness and elegance.

In addition to its clothing collections, Chanel is known for its accessories, perfume, and makeup, including iconic quilted handbags and costume jewelry. Each piece is crafted with the utmost care and precision, using only the finest materials available, making them highly coveted items for fashion connoisseurs.

Chloe

Gigi Hadid Chloe Spring 2023 Campaign
Gigi Hadid stars in Chloe spring-summer 2023 campaign. Photo: Zoë Ghertner

Chloe is a fashion label that embodies the essence of effortless French style. Established in 1952 by Gaby Aghion, Chloe quickly gained recognition for its romantic and feminine designs, which became a staple of Parisian chic.

Under the creative direction of its current designer, Gabriela Hearst, Chloe continues to captivate the fashion world with its signature aesthetic. Hearst’s designs fuse modern and vintage elements, creating a contemporary and nostalgic look.

The Chloe woman is independent, confident, and effortlessly chic. She exudes an air of relaxed sophistication and embodies a free-spirited attitude. Chloe’s designs are characterized by soft fabrics, delicate prints, and fluid silhouettes accentuating feminine form.

Whether it’s a floaty dress or a tailored suit, Chloe’s designs exude a sense of luxury without being ostentatious. The label’s attention to detail is evident in its use of intricate embroidery, beading, and other embellishments, which add a touch of whimsy to its designs.

Claudie Pierlot

Anna de Rijk stars in Claudie Pierlot spring-summer 2020 campaign
Anna de Rijk stars in Claudie Pierlot spring-summer 2020 campaign. Photo: Laura Jane Coulson

Claudie Pierlot is the French fashion gem that’s caught the attention of style enthusiasts everywhere. Established in 1984 by the talented Claudie Pierlot herself, this brand is a treasure trove of chic, modern designs for today’s fashionable woman.

What sets Claudie Pierlot apart, you ask? It’s the brand’s dedication to crafting high-quality clothing, accessories, and footwear, all with a sprinkle of that Parisian charm we can’t resist. You see, the perfect blend of sophisticated elegance and urban flair makes these pieces so captivating.

And while Claudie Pierlot may have its roots in France, its stylish and timeless creations have now made their way into the hearts and wardrobes of fashion lovers around the globe. 

Dior

Maryel Uchida Steinberg Naomi Ekindi Sculy Mejia Dior Spring 2022 Campaign Models
Maryel Uchida, Steinberg, Naomi Ekindi, and Sculy Mejia star in Dior spring-summer 2022 campaign. Photo: Photo: Brigitte Niedermair

Dior—the name alone evokes a sense of timeless elegance and haute couture craftsmanship. Founded in 1946 by Christian Dior, the French house quickly became synonymous with the post-war revival of Parisian fashion. 

Its iconic “New Look” silhouette set the tone for the coming decade. Today, under the creative direction of Maria Grazia Chiuri, Dior continues to embody a sense of refined luxury with collections that are at once romantic and modern. Trench coats, the Bar Jacket, and Miss Lady Dior bag are all staples of the house.

From its exquisite couture gowns to its coveted handbags and accessories, Dior remains a symbol of the highest craftsmanship and savoir-faire. With its emphasis on femininity, grace, and sophistication, Dior is a French clothing brand that celebrates the enduring power of beauty—and we can’t help but be enchanted.

Givenchy

Model He Cong Spring 2022 Campaign
He Cong fronts Givenchy spring-summer 2022 campaign. Photo: Heji Shin

Givenchy is a legendary French fashion house known for making luxury fashion for over six decades. Founded by Hubert de Givenchy in the 1950s, the brand’s designs have become renowned for their elegance and sophistication. Working with 60s style icon Audrey Hepburn only helped raise the label’s iconic status.

The brand’s iconic designs, such as the little black dress and the Bettina blouse, have become timeless classics in fashion. Givenchy has always been a brand that celebrates individuality and self-expression, and its designs are known for their refined silhouettes and attention to detail. 

Under the direction of creative director Matthew Williams, Givenchy continues to evolve and push the boundaries of fashion with its bold designs that combine streetwear influences with high-end luxury. 

Hermès 

Hermes Scarf Fall 2022 Campaign
Mika Schneider stars in Hermès fall-winter 2022 campaign. Photo: Arnaud Lajeunie

Hermès, the French luxury fashion house, is renowned for its exquisite craftsmanship and timeless designs. It was founded by Thierry Hermès in 1837. The brand’s signature leather goods, such as the Birkin and Kelly bags, have become symbols of luxury and exclusivity and are highly coveted by fashion enthusiasts worldwide. 

Hermès’ commitment to quality and attention to detail is evident in every piece, from iconic silk scarves to impeccably tailored clothing. The brand’s designs are characterized by their understated elegance and classic style, focusing on functionality and versatility. 

Hermès has been a significant force in the fashion industry for more than 180 years, and its influence continues to be felt today. Its commitment to traditional craftsmanship and quality has earned it a loyal following, and its designs have been worn by some of the world’s most stylish and influential people.

Isabel Marant

Mona Tougaard Rianne van Rompaey Isabel Marant Spring 2022 Campaign
Mona Tougaard and Rianne van Rompaey pose for Isabel Marant spring-summer 2022 campaign. Photo: Harley Weir

Isabel Marant is a fashion brand that embodies the essence of modern Parisian cool, effortlessly fusing bohemian vibes with a touch of refinement. Founded by the incredibly talented designer Isabel Marant in 1994, this French fashion house is all about creating clothing, accessories, and shoes that cater to the free-spirited woman with a penchant for style.

With a unique blend of casual and chic, it’s no wonder this label has become a go-to for fashion-forward individuals seeking that laid-back yet elegant look. Marant’s designs have a certain je ne sais quoi that captures the hearts of those who wear them.

This brand has carved out a distinct space in the fashion world, be it the iconic wedge sneakers or the flowy boho dresses. So, if you’re ready to enter the realm of Parisian charm and eclectic style, Marant is the ultimate destination for your wardrobe adventures.

Jean Paul Gaultier

Bella Hadid poses as a mermaid in Jean Paul Gaultier Les Marins campaign.
Bella Hadid poses as a mermaid in Jean Paul Gaultier Les Marins campaign. Photo: Charlotte Wales

Jean Paul Gaultier is a fashion label that dares to break the rules, pushing boundaries and challenging conventions with every design. Launched in 1982 by the fearless and avant-garde French fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier, this French fashion house has been shaking up the industry with its unapologetically bold creations.

Known for blending streetwear and high fashion, Gaultier’s designs are a breath of fresh air in a sometimes all-too-serious fashion landscape. Jean Paul Gaultier’s creations are anything but ordinary, from the iconic cone bra worn by Madonna to the signature sailor stripes.

With a flair for the theatrical and an eye for detail, this label has become synonymous with rebellious and innovative fashion. 

Kenzo

Abbey Lee Kershaw stars in Kenzo's spring-summer 2016 campaign.
Abbey Lee Kershaw stars in Kenzo’s spring-summer 2016 campaign. Photo: Sean Baker

Kenzo, the storied Parisian fashion brand, has long been known for its playful and vibrant designs that fuse Japanese and Western aesthetics. Since its founding in 1970 by Kenzo Takada, the brand has continued to innovate and captivate with its colorful prints, bold silhouettes, and unique design elements. 

Under the creative direction of Nigo, Kenzo has maintained its commitment to pushing the boundaries of fashion while honoring its rich history. From its signature tiger motif to its use of sustainable materials, Kenzo continues to evolve and inspire, making it a beloved and enduring presence in the fashion world.

Lanvin

Lanvin Purple Happy Bag Spring 2022 Campaign
Naomi Campbell stars in Lanvin spring-summer 2022 campaign. Photo: Luis Alberto Rodriguez

Lanvin, the French fashion house founded by Jeanne Lanvin in 1889, is known for its timeless and elegant designs that epitomize Parisian chic. The brand’s signature style is characterized by expert tailoring, luxurious fabrics, and understated sophistication, focusing on refined and feminine silhouettes. 

While the brand has undergone several changes in recent years, its commitment to quality and attention to detail remains unwavering. Lanvin’s designs have been worn by some of the world’s most stylish and influential women, cementing its place as a significant force in the fashion industry. 

Under the creative direction of Bruno Sialelli, Lanvin continues to evolve while staying true to its roots, with a renewed focus on inclusivity and sustainability. Sialelli’s designs are a masterful blend of classic French elegance and contemporary style, focusing on bright colors, bold prints, and unexpected details. 

Lanvin’s legacy is one of timeless sophistication and understated glamour, making it one of the world’s most beloved and influential fashion brands.

Louis Vuitton

Louis Vuitton Sunglasses Spring 2022 Campaign
Karlie Kloss fronts Louis Vuitton sunglasses spring-summer 2022 campaign. Photo: Steven Meisel

Louis Vuitton, the iconic French luxury brand, has symbolized timeless elegance and sophisticated craftsmanship for over a century. Founded in 1854, the brand quickly became known for its distinctive monogram canvas and leather goods, which continue to be coveted by fashion lovers around the world. 

Today, under the creative direction of Nicolas Ghesquière, Louis Vuitton has expanded its offerings to include ready-to-wear, accessories, and high-end jewelry, while remaining true to its heritage of exquisite quality and attention to detail. 

With its blend of tradition and innovation, Louis Vuitton continues to be a leader in the world of luxury fashion, inspiring awe and admiration in all who encounter it.

Maison Margiela

Maison Margiela runway look.
Maison Margiela runway look. Photo: fashionstock / Deposit Photos

Maison Margiela, the French fashion house founded by Belgian designer Martin Margiela, has continued to push the boundaries of fashion under the creative direction of John Galliano. Galliano’s approach to design is characterized by his unique vision while still honoring Margiela’s deconstructionist ethos. 

His collections blend conceptual design and expert craftsmanship, featuring unexpected materials, textures, asymmetrical cuts, and unconventional detailing. Maison Margiela’s commitment to sustainability and inclusivity is also evident in Galliano’s designs, which celebrate individuality and self-expression. 

With Galliano at the helm, Maison Margiela continues to be a significant force in the fashion industry, inspiring and influencing designers worldwide with its bold and innovative designs.

Saint Laurent

Freja Beha Erichsen Saint Laurent Summer 2022 Campaign
Freja Beha Erichsen poses for Saint Laurent summer 2022 campaign. Photo: Juergen Teller

Saint Laurent, formerly Yves Saint Laurent, is a legendary French fashion house that has redefined the concept of luxury fashion over the years. Founded by Yves Saint Laurent in 1961, the brand is known for its rebellious spirit and iconic designs that have become synonymous with high fashion. 

The brand’s signature tuxedo jackets, sheer blouses, and slinky evening dresses have been imitated countless times but have yet to be duplicated. Under the direction of creative director Anthony Vaccarello, Saint Laurent continues to push the boundaries of fashion with its edgy designs that combine the brand’s rebellious spirit with a contemporary edge. 

YSL has always been a French brand that celebrates individuality and self-expression, making it a favorite among fashionistas and celebrities. The brand’s undeniable influence on the fashion industry has made it a cultural icon, and its designs will continue to inspire and captivate fashion lovers for years to come.

Rick Owens

Rick Owens Brand Runway
Rick Owens design on the runway. Photo: fashionstock / Deposit Photos

Rick Owens, the American fashion designer based in Paris, is known for his avant-garde and boundary-pushing designs that challenge traditional notions of beauty and style. Owens’ approach to fashion is characterized by its raw and unapologetic aesthetic, focusing on oversized silhouettes, unconventional materials, and deconstructed detailing. 

His collections often feature unexpected collaborations and references to subcultures, reflecting a unique and visionary vision that has earned him widespread acclaim. Owens’ commitment to inclusivity and diversity is also reflected in his designs, which celebrate individuality and self-expression. 

His brand continues to be a significant force in the fashion industry, inspiring and influencing designers worldwide, from the United States to France, with its bold and innovative designs.

Vetements

Vetements Brand Socks
Vetements street style. Photo: AndreaA. / Deposit Photos

Vetements, the Parisian fashion brand founded by Demna Gvasalia, is known for its irreverent and provocative designs that challenge traditional notions of fashion. Gvasalia’s approach to design is characterized by its subversive and anti-fashion ethos, focusing on oversized silhouettes, bold graphics, and unexpected detailing. 

The brand’s collections often feature unexpected collaborations and offbeat references to popular culture, reflecting a unique and cutting-edge aesthetic that has earned Vetements a devoted following. 

While Gvasalia has since departed from the brand, Vetements remains a significant force in the fashion industry, constantly pushing the boundaries of contemporary fashion with its playful and provocative designs.

Final Words on French Designer Brands

All these French designer brands have left an indelible mark on the world of fashion and culture. Like Italian fashion, their legacy continues to influence designers, retailers, and consumers alike.

These luxury French brands have mastered the art of timeless elegance, capturing the essence of French style and sophistication. As the fashion industry continues to evolve, one thing remains constant: the enduring influence of French fashion.


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