Around here, we admire — i.e., are borderline obsessed with — French style. That certain “je ne sais quoi” has a classic, never-trying-too-hard appeal, and the fashion-centric have long flocked to France for rich inspiration.
Enter Maison Jean Bourget, who have translated the timeless Gallic look into kid-friendly form for more than 50 years. We’re celebrating the storied family brand’s debut on Gilt with a little history lesson from company rep Pascale Adelson — along with the scoop on color trends, design inspiration, and some tips on how to dress your little Francophile.
How did the brand get its start?
In 1918, Jean Bourget’s grandfather, Emile Bourget, created a little atelier composed of three people at La Chaussaire, in the region of Maine et Loire, mainly focused on suits. Later, his son Emile gave the small company a boost and focused on military uniforms made with quality fabrics, bringing them a step ahead of the clothing industry in their time. With their expertise in strong, comfortable clothes, Bourget began specializing in children’s clothing in the early ‘50s.
Jean, the eldest of Emile’s 10 children, created the Le Bourget brand in 1959, and with growing demand, launched a children’s collection for winter sports and opened subsidiaries in Milan, New York, and Barcelona. The company was later renamed Jean Bourget, and run by Jean’s sister, Elisabeth, who launched newborn and layette with a group of freelance designers. Namesake boutiques and nearly 1,000 shops later, the extraordinary adventure of Jean Bourget continues with the same passion: innovative children’s clothing with a focus on constant quality.
What makes the designs distinctly French?
The motto is: We have to see children as children — not mini-adults. The brand has a comfortable, contemporary style with casual-chic designs that are easy to wear and laid-back, but not without elegance. Our fabrics are selected precisely to be strong and durable, and creative details like fun prints and colors and modern shapes give the line a sense of uniqueness.
How would you describe the way French children dress?
French children dress chic and casual for their everyday life. Sportswear is usually worn for sport days at school, but it could also be paired with something fun and comfy such as a vest or shirt. You wouldn’t wear sweatpants at work every day, so why should your child? They might play rough and get dirty at school, but why not put them in comfortable pants and shirts with fun character and a great fit?
What are the main components of that “French look”?
A marinière sweater, a raincoat, rubber boots, and soft pants.
What are some trends you’re seeing for next season?
The sun on the “roof gardens” of Brooklyn inspires us — a hipster-inspired range of contrasting off-white, ink, camel, and yellow curry. Also cotton satin polka dots in fuchsia and blue ink. A “smart-rebel” look.