Ines de la Fressange is one of my style icons. Raised in St. Tropez by her mother, an Argentinean model, and her father, the marquis de La Fressange, she became the face of Chanel in the 1980s and a muse to Karl Lagerfeld. These days Ines runs her own fashion label, is author of the bestselling book Parisian Chic: A Style Guide, is brand ambassador of French accessories house Roger Vivier, and collaborates with a variety of other brands spanning home, fashion, and lifestyle. All while raising two daughters. It’s no wonder that she has impeccable taste but what I love most is that Ines epitomizes effortless French style, mixing high with low, designer with vintage. With much of my Fall collection influenced by Paris, she is the perfect interviewee for this month’s Tastemaker.
You’ve worked in fashion for much of your life, from modeling for Chanel to being a brand ambassador for Roger Vivier. What have you learned along the way and how has it informed your collections?
Yes indeed! Actually I think I learned the definition of luxury: it’s all about imagination, rarity, beauty. I also learned one doesn’t need a lot but few can make a lot! Let’s say I am the Kierkegaard of fashion! [Laugh]
We’re gearing up for Fall, what are a few key pieces that women should be shopping for now, for their September wardrobe à la Parisienne?
It can be nice in the city to keep things [you picked up] from holidays, for instance a basket instead of a handbag or just a belt or a shawl found during a trip. Mixing is the idea with no conformism.
Like the AERIN boutique in Southampton, New York, your store, Ines de la Fressange Paris, on rue de Grenelle is about lifestyle. What was your inspiration for the space?
Do not repeat it to anyone, it’s totally egotist! Just things I wish for myself! I have the arrogance to think that if I love the things others will too. So working with honesty and sincerity helps. Also I am a shopaholic so it’s great to transform a default into a job. It includes objects for the house, decoration, kitchen, and presents that I buy from other brands. The things I can’t find, I have made—clothes, jewelry, glasses, bags, shoes. We even have an atelier in the shop so a few pieces that can’t be made in factories are done there.
What’s your beauty regime?
Barely no alcohol, sometimes wine; fresh carrot juice, Revitalift cream, giggling with friends, promising myself I will meditate tomorrow, sleeping sometimes at the office, buying clothes instead of mumbling, watching myself in the mirror smiling (without glasses!).
What is your idea of a perfect day in Paris?
The truth? Staying in bed and doing nothing but watching Orange is the New Black on iTunes. Officially, going for a long walk to the Marais, buying rings at Marie-Hélène de Taillac, having lunch at Le Bon Saint-Pourçain, looking at books at L’Ecume des Pages, and pencils at Dubois on rue Soufflot. I did a guide about all my favorite spots that’s now a newsletter because in reality I love discovering new spots and I am asked all the time.
Paris has such a rich history of artists that inspire me. Many of the decorative accessories in my fall collection draw on their stories and materials. Where do you find inspiration?
This is so true Aerin. Paris has also a lot of cinemas, museums, exhibitions, culture, and patrimony but you know what? I have rather too much inspiration, the difficult thing is to choose and eliminate.
As a working mom, I’m always interested to hear how other women do it. You have two daughters and a multifaceted career. Any tips?
Ready for truth? IT IS IMPOSSIBLE! While you are at work you feel guilty not to be home or at the dancing lesson of your child. While you are home you know you have tons of things late for the office and you feel bad. So listen to the old lady (me): You will never be perfect but no one is a better mum for your children then you! Just learn to surrender, realize what is really important, avoid stress and keep fun, jokes, hugs, laugh, trust and pride and everything will be perfect. But remember, work last not childhood (catch it? Come back early from work and cancel some social life parties).
The illustrations of French women in your book are so much fun! When did you start drawing?
Thank you! I started drawing when I was a child—getting a little bored when you are a kid is not bad, you become creative. Today I am never bored anymore.
Parisian Chic City Guide: Shopping, Dining and More and Secrets of Parisian Chic: A Style Guide from Ines de la Fressange hit the shelves February, 2016.