As a die-hard Francophile who's crazy about A.P.C., lives for Ladurée, and has never met an Isabel Marant look she didn't covet, I never turn down the opportunity to explore a new French fashion label. And despite remaining somewhat under the radar ever since its 2005 launch, bohemian-rocker collection April, May boasts serious style cred. After all, it's designed by Diane Goldstein, formerly of Paul & Joe — a favorite line among many editors. I recently had the opportunity to chat with Goldstein about her Paris-based brand — and learn why she considers fitted leather outerwear a necessity for cool girls from Montmartre to Manhattan.
What's the story behind the name of your label? It's pretty unique!
Well, I was born in April and Yohan, my husband and partner, was born in May. Both April and May are springtime months, and spring marks the beginning and renewal of the natural world, which blossoms after the gloomy winter has ended.
You got your start designing for another French label, Paul & Joe. How would you compare and contrast the aesthetic of the two brands?
I was very fortunate to have started my design career at Paul & Joe. While working there, I was involved in all aspects of the design process, both catwalk and commercial. I learned so much so quickly. The company was very small when I started, and proved to be the perfect environment for me to begin my career. It wasn't until much later, however, that I began thinking of launching my own brand.
Do you have a particular muse in mind when you design?
My muses are my friends, my "entourage." In general, I design clothes for girls and women who have a passion for fashion and who like to get dressed up, but who also have a cool attitude about them.
How would you describe the April, May aesthetic in a single sentence?
April, May is about attitude — about mixing and matching coolness and elegance.
What's next for your label in terms of expansion?
We are planning to open our first concept shop in Paris this fall, and are certainly continuing to grow our US market both in stores and online. We hope to eventually open retail stores in the US as well.
What are three key pieces every woman should have in her closet?
A leather jacket, a men's-style shirt in a nice cotton poplin, and a sexy skirt.
OK, Paris style versus New York City style…go!
New York style is very inspiring — it embodies elegance and attitude perfectly. But French style is actually quite similar. The staples for women in both cities are a masculine or leather jacket, a great pair of jeans, and the perfect pair of stilettos or boots. Think casual, but twisted — and always with good accessories!
For more info on the collection, or to find stores near you, check out aprilmay.fr.