Wed 28
Sep 2016

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Meilleur Ami: The New Secret to Simple French Chic

handsome-french-man

Stylish, understated accessorizing—there are few things the French do better. Especially the men, and especially when it comes to their scarves. After a decade of careful observation I’m convinced that the entire French male population has been genetically perfected to give good scarf. Believe me, if I had a dollar for ever time a visiting American guy friend asked me to give him a French echarpe tutorial, I’d be a rich lady.

how-to-put-on-scarf

But the next time someone asks I’ll give my neck a rest and introduce Meilleur Ami instead. Launched in November 2008, Meilleur Ami is a new niche Paris-based men’s accessories brand whose name is its promise—to create designs that behave like best friends.

So strict is founder Fabien Larchez’ criteria for best friend status that there are only two designs in the collection: the perfect bag and the perfect scarf.

“A good accessory can very quickly become your best friend,” says Larchez while modeling his ingenious “080” scarf. A zero-shaped infinity loop made from a sumptuous slice of fabric, the scarf is then twisted in the center to form a number eight and then thrown over the neck for instant style and coverage. (How friggen awesome is that?)

portrait-fabien-larchez

Larchez, above, uses his inside fashion connections (he worked in the biz as designer, PR and merchandising director for 20 years before launching Meilleur Ami) to source the finest fabrics for his scarves, which are fabricated in a small textile atelier in the outskirts of Paris. They’re all produced in limited series (3-6 scarves per fabric) and come in a smorgasbord of patterns and textures to suit every climate and occasion (silk, cotton and linen for summer, cashmere, wool and even leather for winter).

“The men in my family always wore silk scarves and ties, but I looked ridiculous when I tried to do the same. So I turned and twisted for years until I came up with the right dimensions to add a touch of color, texture or pattern to an outfit without looking stiff.”

bag-over-shoulder

Larchez applied the same philosophy of function and style to the second half of his collection: the Meilleur Ami bag. Made in the Picardie region of France by a textile factory that supplies to the French army, the bag is a godsend, plain and simple. Ample enough to hold a weekend’s worth of stuff, classy enough to take to a meeting, and light enough to sling around your neck for a day of biking around Paris, it’s the modern man’s secret weapon to practical chic. Plus it can be worn three ways: by hand, across the chest or on the shoulder.

lion-tattoo-leather

Supple, resistant and good-looking, the bags are produced in limited series using the finest skins and fabrics from Europe. The combos and colors change each season, and can be customized on demand (for extra, bien sûr). One shop even commissioned a special series of leather bags tattooed with the whimsical animal illustrations of Flo Kim (above, right).

french-bag-interior

Larchez tests each model for its weight and resistance to the elements, including his own arm hair. “I use the same zipper supplier as Chanel because their zippers are sturdy and don’t catch the hairs on your arm. It’s a little detail, but it can make all of the difference.”

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Prices: Bags (450-600) Scarves (50-75)
Distributors: OFR (Paris), Bergdorf Goodman (New York), Lane Crawford (Hong Kong)
Scoop: There’s a private Meilleur Ami sale this Friday and Saturday in Paris. E-mail me for details.

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10 Responses to “Meilleur Ami: The New Secret to Simple French Chic”

  1. trish says:

    self proclaimed scarfer here, anytime of year. great callout. hey- is there a seam in that scarf?

  2. Zeva Bellel says:

    Hey Trish, yes, there’s a seam connecting the two ends, but it’s barely visible. Genius little design, I say, and unisex too!

  3. Penelope Jones says:

    Love them, love them, want one!
    I can feel the softness of the fine gauge wool just through your photos… Yippy they’re unisex!

  4. Alex Daye says:

    Would it be silly to wear a wool scarf when it’s 31 degrees outside? Didn’t think so- I want!

  5. Zeva Bellel says:

    Alex, you and Ellis will FREAK when you see these scarves. And there’s much more than wool. I totally see you working the beautiful vintage-y silk prints, or the light-as-a-feather linens, or the, fine woven cottons. He’s going to be sold in HK in Lane Crawford, and I’m sure the fabrics they’ve selected suit the climate. Miss you guys..Z

  6. Teddy says:

    I knew the bags, they’re great, but didn’t know about the scarves. I love them, they look beautiful. I want one. Fabien: your logo is really cool too! And Laurent models the scarf really well!

  7. Karen says:

    I never know how to tie my scarves like a “Frenchman”…
    So foolproof. They are fabulous. Thanks Zevie

  8. Tiffany says:

    Nice scarves

  9. a traveler’s guide to fall fashion | Confessions of a Young Woman says:

    […] scarf again if you do. I have one black scarf that I wear all year in different ways.  There are a million ways to wear a scarf, and in fall and winter I usually bundle mine around my neck: Compared to wearing it as a […]

  10. Paricia says:

    Need to display my inner-frenchness in Los Angeles. So where do I buy both the scarf and the bag?

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