How to Wear Prints Like a French Girl with Shauna Varvel of Provence Poiriers

By Shayna Seid
Photo: Courtesy of Oliver Fly Photography

Do you dream of listening to “La Vie en Rose” in the French countryside with a glass of Champagne in your hand or of hosting your wedding somewhere like Provence? If you answered “yes” to either, then you no doubt must be familiar with Le Mas de Poiriers, the Instagram-famous luxury vacation chateau and event space with French blue shutters. American-born Shauna Varvel and her family rented the property in 2014, and the next year they purchased the so- called fixer-upper with more than 13,000 square-feet in the main building. Now that the home is fully renovated, not to mention a top destination for vacationers and betrothed couples alike, it was only natural that Shauna’s next venture should be in e-commerce, replete with a beautiful shop under the name Provence Poiriers, which features a selection of home decor, ready-to-wear, and accessories that are also available on Over The Moon, bien sûr!

It’s hard not to be inspired by this particular region of France, and its laidback lifestyle, so it makes perfect sense that guests and people all over the world would want to take home a piece or two of Provence. “I was asked many times if we would sell Pierre Frey pillows like those that we created and can be found throughout the house,” Varvel says. “We were encouraged by these requests and decided that it was time to share a bit of Provence . . . The baskets are a mainstay of Provence life, so we added traditional Provence market baskets from the line right away and things just grew from there!”

The obvious next step was to create fabulous market dresses. Varvel sought out to design something similar to “what Dolce & Gabbana does with Italian fabrics.” “We wanted to use beautiful, traditional Provencal fabrics in comfortable yet chic dress styles and started brainstorming,” she says. Since day one, the dresses have been exclusively made with Pierre Frey fabrics, and sale have gone through the roof—especially since they aren’t reproduced once all of the fabric has been used.

The sundresses are ideal for keeping cool during the warmer months or layering with a cozy cardigan when temperatures drop. Varvel imagines herself and her daughters, with whom she manages the brand and the house, wearing the dresses while going to the market, to lunch, or after a relaxing dip in the pool.

And recently, Provence Poiriers collaborated with one of OTM’s favorite brands, Sarah Bray Bermuda, to produce a series of charming hat ribbons printed in the same fabric as the newest assortment of dresses, so that you can coordinate your look from head to toe. “Hats are essential in the hot Provencal sun, and the ribbons can be tied for a ride in a convertible or can simply be a lovely accent,” Varvel explains. “We are so happy about the collaboration and can’t wait to wear the hats and ribbons in Provence ourselves.”

In her many years as an American in France, Varvel has amassed more than a few sartorial tips for achieving authentique Provencal style. “The French are fabulous about color and are always chic. Even for a market run, women have a color-coordinated scarf tied around their neck, or attached to their basket or bag, and wear wool beret hats in the winter and straw hats in summer,” she says. “I feel that French style is all about accessories and accessorizing well.” Adding:  “Scarves, hats, and belts that coordinate with the rest of your outfit is my favorite takeaway from everyday French style!”

Shop the full Provence Poiriers collection with Sarah Bray Bermuda on Over The Moon.