Anthropologie for adults: Ventilo

My GF Huguette, visiting from Paris, wanted to dart into Anthropologie. She was attracted by the riot of colour and pattern in the window. "How is it?" she asked me. "Young", I replied, but we went in anyway.

She needed a summer skirt, something to wear in the
Canadian heat, for which she had not packed adequately. Huguette is 62, trim, with a graying bob, snapping brown eyes and terrific taste.

She admired a strapless sundress, several skirts. But they were all too short for her. Why can't we have those skirts longer than 18 inches? Well, because Anthropologie's prime market is the 18-to-26 post-Urban Outfitters crowd.

As she flipped price tags, she expressed surprise that 20-somethings could afford $200 sundresses, and found the prices high given the quality of fabric and finishing.

Huguette was drawn to the shop because she loves, and therefore buys, clothes by Armand Ventilo, whom Anthropologie reference, but cannot begin to match for refined design and sumptuous quality.

hown, examples from recent Ventilo summer and fall collections. It's easy to see what she falls for: gorgeous fabrics, unexpected colour combinations, boho-chic detail, and lengths long enough for a woman to feel current yet covered enough.

The designer is pricey (similar to Mar
ni or Max Mara), but La Redoute sell Ventilo's second line, La Colline, and both new and used pieces turn up on eBay, worth bookmarking.

This new embroidered silk tunic, a US size 12, is listed by seller whitefashion with a BIN of $150, pas mal, considering that the retail price is about $850.

To accommodate a slimmer budget and wider hips than Huguette's, I'll assemble my fall wardrobe with Ventilo's audacious colours and textures in mind, mostly from what I already have.

Strict-ly smashing

Ventilo designs less-embellished pieces in the style sub-genre I call 'strict'. A sigh of pleasure for the blue-gray shoes worn with the black dress, far right, above.

I will also channel these refined and deceptively simple looks, as far from Eileen Fisher as a pop tart from a brioche.

Ventilo's web site reminds me not to settle for ho-hum, sloppily-tailored and uninspiring choices just because I can fit into them.

And t
he accessories, formidable!

All images © Ventilo Paris; retrieved from Ventilo Paris web site and not intended for commercial use.


Unknown said…
Such beautiful clothes. I am pulled-the first set of Ventilo images(those that resemble Anthropologie)get me all abuzz. Especially the plaid full skirt and sweater. Then again, I am very pulled to the 'strict' style. I love the simplicity of form and the quiet. It seems I will not have to decide between the two because I do not see either styles in the states. I now join others in wondering where are the shops and where are the clothes (with style!!).Lately I only see J Crew, Anthropologie and American Appare
StyleSpy said…
I haven't seriously shopped at Anthropologie for years now -- it's so unbelievably twee it makes my teeth hurt. And yet I see lots of women far older than myself (including my mother) refusing to give up all those little bows & beads & appliqués & embellishments. ::shudder::
Duchesse said…
StyleSpy: Seems they have tweaked their merch- lots of print but no bows or appliques. Still, hopelessly too short for mature women.
Mardel said…
Really lovely clothes. The collection is glorious. It is too bad we don't see these in the US and to bad I no longer seem to travel. Great inspiration and reminders however.
NancyDaQ said…
I have a few Anthropologie items, but tend to stick with knitwear and jackets. I'm past the point where I want to do an entire Anthro "look" but the occasional item here and there can add some spice.
materfamilias said…
Love your pop-tart to brioche comparison!
These are all great looks -- only wish the Ventilio website was faster-loading. . .
Duchesse said…
materfamilias: This is my favourite designer at the moment so I wait patiently- and keep revisiting.
Some gorgeous pieces here Duchesse - love that coat/dress on the right - great shape.
Anonymous said…
I'm off to Paris later this month. Do these Ventilo clothes come in an American/Cdn size 16?
Duchesse said…
Anonymous: Given that plus size in France starts at 10, no. But do visit the boutique for the accessories and inspiration and have a wonderful trip!

I'm a 14-16 and have a very hard time buying clothes in France, except sweaters. If you would like my Paris shopping guide, e-mail me and I will send.

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