Fashion

French It Girl Jeanne Damas Refuses to Compromise

The Parisian "It Girl" discusses her fashion brand Rouje and style inspirations with long-time friend, designer Simon Porte Jacquemus.
Reading time 10 minutes

Well before the era of Instagram and Snapchat, Jeanne Damas was one of the first and youngest to pioneer the then-novel digital blogging platform, Skyblog. Post by post and with an uncanny aloofness, Damas (aka Crevette Liloo) used the blog to share her fashion vision to the world wide web—all while still an ordinary teen in high school. A little less than a decade later, the blogger has garnered over 900,000 Instagram followers and become one of France’s biggest influencers. On her résumé? A contract with Viva modeling agency, a capsule collection for La Redoute, a cinematic jaunt in Guillaume Canet’s Rock’n Roll, a new book co-authored with the journalist Lauren Bastide entitled À Paris (Grasset), and a plethora of brands—from Comptoir des Cotonnier to Gucci—that would do anything to get on her radar. The blogger is also set to launch a makeup line next November.

As described by lingerie designer and best friend Yasmine Eslami, “Paris, where Jeanne was born and bred, has and will continue to be an inspiration for the content that she produces as well as the persona that she represents—a persona that embodies a certain freedom typical of French women, and a persona that is a source of envy for many.” Indeed, Jeanne Damas represents not only the chic Parisienne but an elegance that is very much made-in-France.

“Jeanne has an allure about her, she is modern, she is extremely kind,” comments Mathilde Favier, director of VIP PR at the house of Christian Dior (a brand that, by the way, is not bound to the blogger by contract), “and, despite her youth, she is not pretentious.” Thus, it is no surprise that she has been compared to equally refreshing icons of the ’60s, like Jane Birkin. While Jeanne quickly denounces this comparison as being a cliché, we can’t help but notice the similarities: the same dark blond curls, the statement fringe, the same fine features…in short, they are the girls that other girls want to look like.Cliché or not, this appeal proved to be useful when Jeanne Damas founded Rouje two years ago, in the hopes of creating clothes that she herself would wear. Close friend and stylist for the brand, Nathalie Dumeix, elaborates: “We wanted to create pieces with Jeanne’s ideals and dress codes in mind whilst also featuring the talents of the women that she admires.” Moreover, this sense of loyalty and support is also what distinguishes her from other influencers. As emphasized by Favier, “what makes her special is that she has taste. Yes, her makeup is flawless but she always has a good vibe, she’s…inspiring. She has a beautiful soul and that’s what transpires through her work and through her style”—and always with her signature aloofness that makes it look so easy. As for the success of Rouje, Dumeix has this to say, “It’s all about the breath of fresh air that she injects into the clothes and the campaigns. We successfully translated it-girl into it-brand!”

Who are Jeanne Damas’s icons? Her mother, her girlfriends, a couple of Italian actresses, and her sister, Louise, who is a jewelry designer and who can’t stop gushing about her sister: “What impresses me the most about Jeanne is her spontaneity. She’s impulsive but very instinctive, and I think this is a big reason why everything seems to be falling into place for her.” Her credo? Femininity, forever and always, a vision she shares and dissects with one of her closest friends, Simon Porte Jacquemus, in their first two-way interview with L’Officiel.

Simon and Jeanne, how did you two meet?

Simon Porte Jacquemus: As teens, we both had blogs. I felt kind of alone where I was living and the Internet really helped me find peers with whom I could bond and share my love of fashion—including Jeanne! After e-mailing back-and-forth countless times, we decided it was time to meet and I stayed with her during my first visit to Paris.

Jeanne Damas: We’re part of a generation of kids who became friends thanks to Skyblog and Myspace. When I was 14, my childhood friends weren’t really interested in fashion so I was happy to find Simon. Like me, he took a lot of photos of looks, cool scenes, holiday pics…

 

What is your first memory together?

JD: I posed for Simon when he first launched his brand. I was still in high school but I remember that we shot at this super modern quartier, Beaugrenelle, and it was a far cry from the Haussmann-esque Parisian clichés. I don’t think I’ve ever put on makeup as fast as I did that day in a parking lot!

What good and bad traits would you say you share?

JD: We’re very impatient and very honest. This could’ve taken its toll in hindsight, but it seems that this refusal to concede has actually been beneficial. With time, though, I feel that I’ve gone from being crass and unfiltered to being a little more poised, soft…isn’t that true, Grandma Jeanne?!

SPJ: Yeah, well, that’s definitely not the person I got out with! [Laughs]

 

Jeanne, do you have a mantra for someone who wants to feel good in their skin?

JD: Embrace your imperfections. Take the French woman, for example: she knows when to let go, she knows it’s okay to not brush her hair every day, and she knows it’s okay to have crooked teeth…you have to start embracing your quirks or else you’ll never fully accept yourself. I also tend to like what others consider to be tasteless: smudged lipstick, a bra strap peeking out…

 

And what do you consider to be THE staple for a feminine wardrobe?

JD: The wrap dress. I’ve seen it on women of all ages, of all shapes, and in cities around the world. It’s universal.

Simon, is there a particular aspect of the feminine silhouette that you love?

SPJ: I love low décolletés, thin straps, super short skirts…

 

Simon, why do you think Jeanne is THE newest incarnation of French chic?

SPJ: I’ve always thought her beauty was universal. It’s a look that could please my grandmother, my brother, or my uncle. And when you meet her, there also seems to be something really funny and natural in her way of being and in her way of interacting with people. Acting all naïve, she has no trouble putting her foot in her mouth!

Jeanne, what do you think Simon’s designs are saying?

JD: Simon and I share the same understanding of what makes a woman: sensuality, impertinence, naturally sexiness, fearlessness to walk barefoot… Without being trendy, he has created clothes that one can turn into one’s own, clothes in which one can feel free and strong.

 

Simon, what are your thoughts on Rouje?

SPJ: I’ll admit that I was a little shocked when Jeanne told me that she was going to launch her own brand. I even remember saying, “Oh, so you’re a designer now?!” Later on, after seeing so many girls wearing her dresses, I understood where she was coming from. She is her brand! Kind of like Inès de La Fressange in the ’80s, she represents the ultimate French woman.

Jeanne, what inspires your style?

JD: While Parisian style is more boyish, like pairing a simple top and jeans, Rouje brings in something a little more feminine without trying too hard. A crop top or a flouncy skirt, styled with a messy bun and a plastic flower in the hair.

 

How would you explain Rouje’s success?

JD: I wasn’t expecting it to be received so well. It’s a little hard to deal with at times! The thing about my clothes is that they represent who I am, so I have to be in love with each of the pieces and I have to want to wear them myself. Rouje’s design team is made up of some of my closest friends—friends that I go out with, friends that I go on vacation with—but my way of communicating probably also plays a part in [Rouje’s success]. I know how to “show” things. For the book À Paris, for example, the only thing I did was take photos of where I lived at the time and it was as simple as that! I refuse to do and be anything that isn’t true to myself and my tastes.

 

Jeanne and Simon, is your friendship for life?

JD: Yes, Simon and I have one of those “unconventional” friendships where we meet to really talk and connect, not just to hang out over drinks. Like childhood friends, we’ve seen each other grow up over the span of a decade.

SPJ: And I know that in 10 years’ time, I’ll still be seeing Jeanne and we’ll still be there for each other. We’ve helped build each other’s careers but we’ve never tried to use each other. What we have is a friendship without ulterior motives.

Credits

Jewelry: Tiffany & Co.

Makeup: Amy Strozzy

Hair: Michael Duenas

Casting: Jen Jalouse

Production: Joshua Glasgow

Photo Assistant: David Lopez

Stylist Assistants: Tyler Cunningham and Alizée Hénot

related posts

Recommended posts for you