Ultimate Parisienne Inès de la Fressange up close.
Whether as model, muse, mother or fashion designer, Inès de la Fressange has always been the epitome of Gallic elegance.the daughter of a French marquis and an Argentinian model, Fressange began modelling herself in the 1970s, becoming the muse to Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel, who told her he could imagine her designing her own fashion collection. As always, the designer proved far-sighted. Fast-forward to the present day, and Fressange, now 58, has her own namesake label and is working on her seventh collaboration with the Japanese brand Uniqlo. Naturally, she is also modelling for the campaign.“i only do one or two pictures,” she says,“but sometimes they’re the clothes we sell the most. I’m surprised by that.” Nobody else is, however, for Fressange’s effortless-looking style is envied and imitated worldwide.
Fressange has many other strings to her bow. She owns a Left Bank boutique; she has co-written a best-selling style manual, which she followed up last year with a guide to chic Paris; and since 2003, she has been the ambassador for Rogervivier, the luxury French shoe brand, a role that has encompassed everything from PR to store decor to long-term strategy. She recalls her first meeting withtod’s CEO Diego Dellavalle,who asked her whom she saw as the ideal designer to take the label on. Fressange suggested Bruno Frisoni (serendipitously, she was wearing a pair of his shoes at the time). “Della Valle said ‘That’s good news, he’s already done two collections,’” she says, laughing. “It was a test to see if we had the same idea of the brand. Bruno really had the spirit of Rogervivier: witty but always chic and elegant.” which is, of course, exactly what one would say of Fressange herself.
She lives in Paris (where else?), in a house near the Jardin du Luxembourg. “There are dogs, children — it’s a bit messy and not very French,” she confesses. “there’s even a tiny Indian temple at the end of the garden.” Her home is shared with her two daughters, Nine, 22, and Violette, 16, from her marriage to Luigi d’urso, an Italian businessman and art historian, who died of a heart attack in 2006. Nine has starred in an advertising campaign for Bottega Veneta, while Violette has followed in her mother’s footsteps and walked the runway for Chanel; but their mother says their futures lie outside fashion. “Nine has a passion for theatre,” she says. “And Violette wants to be a writer.”
Fressange, too, has other ambitions. She’s always wanted to do the decor for a hotel; her latest dream is to set up an agency, staffed by young computer geniuses, to reimagine everyday items using computer-aided design. Does she ever relax? “At the weekends I feel I ought to see exhibitions and organise lunch with friends … but in the end, I’m in bed, watching stupid American TV series,” she admits. “maybe I should invent a new life — maybe I should say I’m having tea with Princess Caroline? ”the truth is, for all her impeccable beauty, style and wit, Inès de la Fressange is a reluctant role model. “my real message is that nobody’s perfect,” she says. though to the casual observer, she comes pretty close.
wears Inès de la Fressange jacket, $1033, vest, $447, and pants, $555; Versace shirt, price on application; Roger Vivier shoes, $1455; Cartier watch, price on application; her own bracelets and rings (worn throughout).
Inès de la Fressange jacket, $833, and vest, $447; Dolce & Gabbana shirt, price on application; Bulgari watch, price on application. HAIR NOTE: Pantene 3 Minute Miracle Conditioner.