If there’s a woman alive who personifies Parisian glamour, it’s Ines de la Fressange. Not just because the 50-plus-year-old, still-working supermodel has been the face of iconic French brands like Chanel and Roger Vivier, and was even once the model for an official bust of Marianne of France. Nor because of her best-selling book, Parisian Chic—an authoritative collection of listings every self-respecting shopper should own. It’s also because, like the frequently invaded city she calls home, she makes being a survivor look easy.
It was back in 1991 that de la Fressange first launched her eponymous brand of chic separates and home wares, and at first it was a hit. But problems with her investors meant she lost the rights to her own name, and in 1999 the line was shuttered. It has taken her 16 years, and much legal wrangling, to win it back. In the interim she has stayed busy, consulting for Roger Vivier, designing a line of sportswear for Uniqlo, and becoming one of the faces of L’Oréal cosmetics.
Finally, last month, she was able to re-launch her own brand in a new Paris boutique. In the otherwise dead-serious neighborhood of Saint-Germain, she has curated a witty, whimsical range that includes vintage-inspired separates and simple leather accessories of her own design, as well as linen pillowcases and a custom-order bicycle (with cheeky bleu, blanc et rouge stripes, bien sûr). “I hate shops that look like a museum, empty and cold,” she said. Not a problem here.
The pieces bearing de la Fressange’s own name—such as perfect, toe cleavage-baring ballet pumps and sleek boots—demonstrate her superb eye for detail. Another highlight is her self-signed range of big, glamorous sunglasses, which includes a pair inspired by Jackie Onassis in her early 1970s glory, handmade in France and well priced at $164.
The overall impression is colorful, good quality, correctly priced, and generally happy-making. “Parisian chic is about mixing luxurious items and cheaper ones, keeping a balance between trendy and timeless,” de la Fressange told me. “It seems has-been to me that if you have luxury goods in your shop, everything has to be expensive. Espadrilles can be elegant and look great with a silk blouse. Why can’t we buy them in the same place?” Well, now we can.
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