What Sex Appeal Means to Chrystelle Baran

Antique store owner Chrystelle Baran on what sexy means to her

Co-owner of speciality French Antique store Baran de Bordeaux, Chrystelle Baran. Picture / Babiche Martens.

As the co-owner of speciality French Antique store Baran de Bordeaux alongside partner Nick Ferneyhough, Chrystelle has a discerning eye for luxury. Her own personal style is a balanced mix of Parisian glamour via the quaintness of Bordeaux — a beautiful silk blouse matched with a pair of denim jeans. “My job is very physical so I love the fact that I can push an armoire around the room and not ruin my clothes. I like to wear distressed, faded jeans with gorgeous diamond earrings or, say, a pair of patent Louboutins.”

Sexy to me is... something that comes from within. I think a woman can dress in an oversized T-shirt, ripped jeans and a pair of high-tops and ooze sex appeal. It’s about the way she carries herself, her attitude. Alternatively you can dress overtly “sexy” and if you look overdone and self-conscious it just doesn’t work.

Style is a huge part of my life. As a young girl growing up in France, names like Dior, Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent become part of your vocabulary as soon as you can talk. You might not be privileged enough to wear these labels right away, of course, but you quickly learn who these people were, why they were so important, and what their individual styles represented. I was always drawn to history, so it was equally important for me to learn my Louis XV style from my Louis XVI and so on. These periods were all synonymous with a particular fashion and those fashions permeated every aspect of French life; clothing, design, art, music, architecture.

The sexiest item of clothing I have is… any piece from my collection of Chantal Thomass lingerie. Probably something pink and black. Hey, I wouldn’t be French if I wasn’t crazy about lacy underwear! There are a number of gorgeous French brands, but I think Chantal Thomass’ lingerie is the most quintessentially French. There’s a kind of elegant playfulness about her designs that really embodies French attitudes towards sex and sexuality since the beginning of time.

I feel most confident when… I’m fit, healthy and happy. Whatever you choose to wear, confidence is essential in wearing it successfully. I think we’re raised in France to care much less about what other people think of us (in my experience anyway). I will choose my outfit on any given day according to how I feel in myself. I really couldn’t care less if anyone else likes it or not. I know it’s a cliche but life really is too short to waste a minute worrying about what other people think of you and, even less, what you’re wearing.

The era of style I relate to is the 70s. I love the music, the fashion, the sense of freedom and revolution that seemed to be in the air. Probably just as well I wasn’t part of it. I’ve always been drawn to that 70s rock n roll glamour. When you see those old photos of the Rolling Stones and their entourage living in the South of France there’s a sense of carefree bohemian chic… Heaven.


Cooper blouse $299; Louis Vuitton wedges $1540; Chanel Le Volume mascara, $65, from Smith & Caugheys. Pictures / Supplied. 

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