We recently reunited with cult-favorite label Sézane on a new capsule collection of quintessentially Parisian pieces (with New York twists). To bring it to life with a photo shoot in Central Park, we looked for a woman who truly embodies the best of both worlds. And we found deux: Meet Rebecca Dayan (left) and Louise Follain. They’re two French-born models-slash-creatives who know a thing or 10 about what it means to live in and love both cities. We got out of the way and let the two of them get to talking while we eavesdropped. (And no, not just for the accents.)
Style icons, housewarming gifts, childhood pursuits and guilty pleasures—Lou and Rebecca break down the differences between Paris and New York.
Louise: We both grew up in France. I wonder if we had similar childhoods. What were your hobbies?
Rebecca: I loved growing up in Nice. It was a really creative time. I was always painting or making perfumes with whatever I found in our garden. I played dress-up with my grandmother’s clothing and put on little plays. She really sparked my curiosity.
Louise: Mine too! My mother and grandmother taught me so much about style. They’re so elegant. I’d play piano and write in my diary and read their old copies of Elle.
Rebecca: Movies, music icons, moms. French girls up have so much inspiration growing up.
Louise: Yves Saint Laurent. If I could be anyone’s muse…
Rebecca: Ingmar Bergman or John Cassavetes.
Louise: They really made women look confident, self-assured. That’s definitely something people believe about French women, that they’re born with that innate sense of style.
Rebecca: Oh, entirely true, of course! But that actually is the biggest misconception about French style.
Louise: Do you remember the first special piece of clothing you bought?
Rebecca: A cashmere sweater. Or a trench coat. That feels very French to me.
Louise: And stripes. Stripes also feel very French. I’m sorry to say, we don’t really wear berets. Sadly, too cliché.
Rebecca: And being in New York, it’s easy to notice differences between what’s considered Parisian and what’s considered New York style.
Louise: Of course. If I go to a party in New York, I wear any “makes me look French” kind of dress. In Paris, a black suit. A velvet one!
Rebecca: Yes! Slip dresses in New York. Pantsuits in Paris.
Louise: I feel like I could wear anything in New York. People are way less judgmental.
Rebecca: New Yorkers take more style risks. And wear more leather. Patti Smith is a total New York style icon.
Louise: And Parisians eat way more bread! The way I eat in New York is quite different than how I eat when I’m in France. You too?
Rebecca: Oh, sure. If I want a treat in New York, I go to Popbar, this little place where they serve gelato on a stick. But my guilty pleasure in Paris is L’Entrecôte. Steak frites!
Louise: Or crêpes au Nutella. I make the best ones, by the way.
Rebecca: I always think the best gift to bring to a dinner party in New York is something French…
Louise: Any French delicacy. Have a party. I’ll bring macarons.
Rebecca: I’ll wear a pantsuit.