Is it too much to ask for comfort, staying power and high style all in one package? Not if you’re Michel Léger. Opened in May on a quiet cobbled street in Saint Germain des Prés, this minimal boutique holds the key for women who want it all.

Leger’s 30 years as a designer show in his knack for making meticulous, beautifully tailored clothes look utterly simple. Unstructured separates are never lined, frequently without buttons—most of the coats and jackets fall so perfectly there’s no need for them—and surprisingly lightweight. The designer dislikes overt sexiness, instead creating elegant designs in luxurious fabrics that enhance a woman’s figure while remaining classic enough to be worn year after year.

Case in point: a sumptuous ankle-length alpaca coat that can be worn straight or thrown over the shoulder for dramatic effect. Not only is the coat’s unlined alpaca fabric downy soft and warm, it’s also light as a feather. Alpaca crops up often in the current fall/winter collection, notably for jackets of various styles and lengths. A gently tapered, gorgeously cut version—in black, the perfect wardrobe staple—can be worn for daytime with skinny jeans or dressed up with one of Leger’s ingenious skirts.

One standout skirt is pencil-straight in front but flares out in back to create a lovely drape perfect with high boots. Among the other great finds here: trousers in a lightweight silk-and-wool men’s suit fabric; a spectacular fuchsia mohair cardigan; unstructured mandarin-style blouses in silk or cotton; the kind of voluminous scarves adored by chic Parisiennes; and stylish suede carryalls in saturated colors.

Prices range from about €300 for a skirt to €1,000 for an alpaca coat.

19 rue des Grands Augustins, 6th,

Originally published in the October 2011 issue of France Today



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