1 Oct 2013

Fashion… Hit and Miss

This month’s collaboration is about the catwalk hits and misses of the season…

To be precise… something I love and something I don’t.

What’s not to love about this fashion for oversized coats… elegant, flattering and cosy to wrap up in… especially this delicious blush pink from Céline…

I mighty style it differently… no offence Phoebe Philo… but I think it’s a beautiful piece that deserves a little more glamour… and at least one of Céline’s more ravishing bags to accessorise…)


Celine Fall 2013


In contrast, this heavily patterned damask style number from Alexander Mc Queen is way down on my list of top hits…

Curtains and cushions come to mind… maybe they had a Sound of Music ‘moment’… think Julie Andrews dressing her Von-Trapps kind of feeling…


Alexander Mc Queen Fall 2013


What do you think… hit and miss? xv

To see more fabulous fashion ‘hit and misses’ from my favourite bloggers… please click here


If you missed my post yesterday… I am turning five here at French Essence…

To celebrate I am giving away a week’s stay at Le Petit Bijou in St Remy de Provence, southern France.

There are no conditions other than the week’s accommodation can be used only by the winner and/or the winner’s immediate family. The winner can reserve the week at any time during 2013/2014 subject to availability…


It’s very simple to enter this giveaway…

1. leave a comment here or reply by email expressing your interest

2.  subscribe or be a subscriber to French Essence… (don’t forget to verify your subscription)

3. like my Facebook page or follow me on Instagram


 The giveaway is open all week and the more times you comment, ‘share’ on Facebook or on Twitter  the more times your name will be entered to win…

If you mention the giveaway on your blog… that’s an extra chance too… (make sure to let me know so I can enter your name more than once)


For further enquiries about Le Petit Bijou, please email me, vicki@vickiarcher.com

Good luck… and I can’t wait to announce the winner next Tuesday, the 8th October … … xv



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La Pouyette - Karin

Agree with all, Vicki! Yes, one of Celine’s fabulous bags would be just perfect. Love her bag design since I had my first ones, last century :)
And your amusing comment about A.Mc Queens creation makes me laugh, particularly combined with these shoes/boots or whatsoever….

Congratulation to your fifth blog year, will see what I can do about your highly interesting and very generous giveaway.
Amicalement, karin


What an absolute joy it would be to enjoy a stay in your little treasure . Having watched the journey of its refurbishment through your blog, a sojourn would be a delight. Fingers crossed. !!!!!!!!

The Enchanted Home

So agree the McQueen coat looks like she ripped it right off her windows and is wearing a window treatment! The blush coat is a beautiful color but agree it could use some tweaking with how its worn:)


Great choices Vicki ….. you are so good at this that I just knew you would find great love/hate outfits. I actually find it so easy to find outfits that I don’t like …. there are always some quirky designs out there during Fashion Week ! I still think that there is an element of ‘ the Emperors new clothes ‘ going on in fashion.
I really liked this subject for our BIO post this month and, it’s great to see what others like and dislike isn’t it ?
Have a lovely week Vicki. XXXX

Esther George

Hi Vicki Happy Fifth Birthday I would love to spend time at Le Petit Bijou but my health problems don’t allow travel… can I say bummer….Enough about me lets talk fashion I love oversized coats but Von Trapp curtains I don’t think so, i do love Alexander McQueen. I wish everyone who enters the competition the best of luck. Regards Esther from Sydney.


Ahhhhh…a girl can only dream of a stay at Le Petit Bijou…thanks so much Vicki for giving us all an opportunity to do so!


Yours was the first blog I subscribed to a few years ago….I always love whatever you have to share. What a beautiful gift you are giving away, thank you for the chance!

Marsha @ Splenderosa

Hit or Miss. Well, my friend, you are spot-on with these choices. I adore the pink Celine and can immediately think of so many ways to wear it. The McQueen looks like a costume fit only for a far out editorial piece. Happy 5th! What a beautiful success you have created, everyone so admires you and your amazing talents. Thank you for being part of “By Invitation Only,” it means so much to me. xx’s


LOVE the coat Vicki…effortless style…and your ‘miss’ yes, I can picture Maria and the children :)
I FB and tweeted your giveaway link…sounds wonderful!
Have a good week.

Anita Rivera

Give me that pink coat and gray boots and I’m happy; my French students would also like my choice as well for they are already commenting on my humble but well-put-together wardrobe! Anita

Ainsley Reid-Willett

‘My French Life’ has been next to my bed since I bought it many years ago. Staying at Le Petit Bijou would be a dream!


Deborah Peterson Milne

Hello Vicki – If I were 25 it’d perhaps be a hit but I’m afraid I’d look like Miss Havisham or Julie Andrew’s as she is today and not a few decades ago.

But..what’s better than Paris Fashion Week!!? xx


Congradultions of this wonderful, sharing, kind & giving of Vicki who is French Essence ~ as you lift up my heart and mind ~ love love love the pink coat, I wonder if it is a heavy coat, or a light cashmere? Heavy coats for me aren’t my favorite, but a light weight and cashmere to boot, this is a certain classic stable to have ~ Merci ~ XO

Barbara H

Love the loose fitting blush coat, not so much the other one. Would adore a week in France. I have never been.

Elizabeth Eiffel

Le Petit Bijou is everything that I dream My French Folly could be, but isn’t. Alas, after 3 years my house in France still has a waterfall in the roof, holes in the walls, no power or plumbing upstairs, broken windows, patches of bare earth as a floor, new plaster work that has to be taken out and relaid. To add to our woes this year a weight-bearing wall (supporting the main roof beam) in the greener collapsed. I would love to have a holiday in France without a hammer or paint brush in my hand and dust in my hair. May I please go into the draw to win a sojourn in Le Petit Bijou? Warm regards

Trish Murphy

l love the pink coat it is a beautiful shade and it looks so glamorous.The Alexander McQueen does nothing for me.Trish


Congratulations on FIVE wonderful years! I’ve been following you via email subscription for a few years and have enjoyed your posts. I’ve also “liked” you on FB. Thanks for a great giveaway (hope I win!!!) and best wishes for your family.


Dear Vicki: Thanks for the giveaway, that’s awesome. It’s hard for me to say that I don’t like the McQueen but really I don’t it’s just way too heavy.. and I do love the color of that Celine though..


I’ve been following PFW myself- I agree there are some hits and misses! That ballet pink is gorgeous, though.
I’m crossing my fingers (and toes!) on the giveaway! I’ve been following you first through Google Reader and now Feedly and always enjoy your perspective and images. Makes me long to be in France every time.
Thanks and keep up the great work.

Katie E.

Five years and you just keep getting better! I love your blog just as much now (if not more) as I did when I first discovered it five years ago! A trip to your beautiful part of the world would be wonderful!

D. A. Wolf

Curtains and cushions indeed! Thumbs down! (I must say, I wasn’t impressed with much of what I saw for Spring 2014, when it comes to NY Fashion Week. I kept finding myself saying… “What were they thinking?”)

D. A. Wolf

One additional comment… much as I love the look of the oversize coats, those of us who are teeny tiny (in the 5’0 range) typically cannot wear them.

It’s unfortunate, because in principle, if they were scaled down beyond sleeve length and hem length, we would lose the effect of being swallowed up while enjoy the obvious stylish comfort.

Carol Etheridge

I would love to win a week in St. Remy! It’s my favorite town in France. I’m always working when I’m there and have been dreaming of a week there just for moi! Whoever wins is a lucky person!!!


Love the pink coat and not find of McQueens offering! I always love the way you think. Would love to visit your spot in paradise, hope I win. Congratulations on your milestone, you’re very talented and inspiring!

Cathie M

Dear Vicki,
Congratulations on 5 years! Yours was the first blog I started following a few years ago.
I would love to stay at Le Petit Bijou – my daughter is in London for two years , so we could
have an amazing reunion and holiday there! It’s the stuff dreams are made of…..


I think you are doing a wonderful job with French Essence. It is thorough, well-written, interesting, and très au courant. You are living my dream life.
We enjoyed several holidays in rented houses in charming villages in Provence and loved every one of our stays.
Alas, I have not been back for three years. Le Petit Bijou would be a lovely place for a return visit.
A very generous giveaway.

amy m

I agree with your assessment of the lovely pink coat. How chic! Thank you for your generous opportunity.


How generous of you to giveaway a week at your beautiful new La Petit Bijou!I would have a hard time just leaving the house to explore the wonderful town of Sr. Remy!Congratulations on the most fabulous blog!


Actually, I would prefer the McQueen. But without the shoes or the belt. If it were scaled down with simple black boots and shortened a bit so it’s not quite so long it could be quite stunning in a quirky kind of way. But then, I am a fan of the Lilith line.

Deborah McKenzie

The blush coat is lush. The other does recall Scarlett in Gone With the Wind at her most desperate. Le Petit Bijou I would love to visit her and enjoy a part of France I have never seen.


Agree on the coats wholeheartedly….and yes, the Celine beauty needs a little something extra to make it “pop”

I would love to enter your comeptition Vicki….I couldn’t think of anything better than staying in France and getting to know some of the locals for a week….or two
Thanks for the opportunity

Kathleen Swift

Happy Birthday~ such an exciting time for you~ Oh my goodness I would LOVE to spend time at Le Petit Bijou ~ Traveling to France has been a long time dream of mine.


oh wow. what an amazing giveaway. I have travelled all around Europe but never to France. This would be an amazing trip.

Linda Park

Congratulations on five years of the most wonderful blog! I have both your books and adore them. Although I reside in Australia, I was in St Remy de Provence last month but only for a few hours. A week there would be bliss.

Jen H

How wonderful to be celebrating your 5th anniversary ~ and how wonderful of you to be sharing this special giveaway opportunity with us, your loyal fans! I have been a huge fan of your blog since discovering it earlier this year. Thank you for providing so many gorgeous daily inspirations as my husband and I have been decorating and transforming our new house into our petit chateau! It would be a true thrill and an absolute honor to be chosen as the winner of this special prize. Fingers crossed :)


Congratulations on five years! I love the blog and have been reading you for many years – partly because your Provence home is in my favorite area in the world and partly because the blog is just so beautiful, stylish and fun. It’s like sitting down with a girlfriend for a good conversation and it always brightens my day. Love St. Remy and would love a week in the Petit Bijou!


Thanks to The Enchanted Home for turning me on to your blog! Looks like a great one! Absolutely LOVE your cozy home in France! What a treat it would be to visit in person!


Happy 5 years! what an accomplishment! I’m so happy to have stumbled upon your blog. And to stay at Le Petit Bijou would be an absolute dream come true! I will always cherish the time my mother and I got to visit France- it passed too quickly, but it was the most magical time! Would love to go back, and take her with me, since it is her dream to go to Provence. I also must add that your Pinterest boards leave me oohing and ahhing at the beautiful things in life. XX

Colleen Taylor

Happy to have found out about your fabulous blog here from Sharon at MFCH. Love the divine blush coat. The way it appears to move with the body is to be envied by all. What an incredible give away & thank you for the opportunity!



Congratulations on your five year anniversary of French Essence! My French Life was my introduction many years ago to your beautiful musings on France and I have so enjoyed both of your lovely books and of course your blog. You speak to women who enjoy life and live it to the fullest! A week at LPB would be exquisite and I would savor every moment…thank you for your generosity with this giveaway.



Celine….definitely a HIT – you could wear that as it is, straight from the catwalk! Though I agree with you it needs accessories with more ‘oomph’.
McQueen….Actually a hit with me too! I love the monochrome and the detailing on the collar. However, I think it would be much cuter and more wearable in a shorter length – I think it’s the vastness of it in the maxi style that’s creating the ‘curtain’ effect…ha ha!

I would absolutely LOVE to stay in your stunning ‘petit bijoux’! I spent more hours yesterday than I should admit oggling over your beautiful photos and if I don’t end up painting my next wall in ‘elephant’s breath’ i’ll be very surprised! You are one talented lady!

Sarah x

Jeanne @ Collage of Life

I think Celine has to be one of my favourite designers Vicki..I have fallen in love with black all over again as a result. Love the simplicity. This oversized coat would be so nice to bundle up in on a brisk but sunny London afternoon. Wrap the neck in cashmere…throw on the gloves and I think you have a touch of heaven. Can you tell I am missing autumn? Incessant dreaming is more like it…xx


You were the first blog I ever read,
I know so techno savvy ……not.
Had bought your book “My French Life” and googled your name.
To see if you had any other books, and found a thing called blog
Opened up a whole new world of fashion/house/garden design.
Congratulations on 5 years


I would love to visit Le Petit Bijou – we had our honeymoon in France last year but I’ve never been to Provence (except through your pictures!). Thank you.


Happy 5th Anniversary….it would be an honor to visit Le Petit Bijou and share in your wonderful dream come true. Thank you for the opportunity.


I would LOVE to spend a week in Provence. My daughter and her hubby and their little girls have been in France all this week…I am so envious! I haven’t been to France, but if I won, I would certainly be there at a moments notice! Love your blog and can’t wait to visit your shop! I will share on Facebook as well! What a wonderful generous giveaway!
You are a sweetheart!

Mable Zak

What a generous way to celebrate your success! Love, love how you have furnished your petit chateau! Would love to win. Here’s hoping.


Wow, it looks stunning.
Congratulations Vicki! The combination of your dedicated work, taste and love for the region shines through.
We would love to stay there one day next year and will be in contact when I have firmer dates.


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