Sézane.

Like many American girls, I was introduced to Sézane by their excellent collaboration with Madewell late last fall. (That La Superbe sweatshirt you saw on every New York corner in December? That's Sézane.) Started in 2013 by Morgane Sézalory—who had gotten start in the fashion world as a successful vendor of her vintage finds—Sézane rolls out seasonal, subtly-themed collections. The clothes and accessories are beautifully made, reasonably priced, and just slightly off-beat. The bottom line? These clothes are that je ne sais quoi I always dreamed of made manifest.

The most recent collection hits a sweet spot for me—it's inspired by Marseille, a city I spent a number of days wandering while I was studying abroad. Marseille is very old and very beautiful. Very diverse and very French at once—with grit and crumble lifted up by sea air. One day I was there I had salty moules frites; the next time I was there an old man made me a gyro and I asked about his Greek hometown. One day I sailed around Chateau d'If; another day I got lost and found myself in an alley, the air suddenly thick with spices and filled with Arabic music. There is something new at every turn.

                                                                         Door in Marseille, March 2012

                                                                         Door in Marseille, March 2012

This collection, I think, captures all of Marseille's contradictions: the grit and the sea and the beauty, the inescapable French-ness that mingles—thank goodness—with a conscious and welcome worldliness.