Les Carnets d’Inès

Ines_FressangeFrench fashion model (among other roles) Inès (Marie Lætitia Églantine Isabelle de Seignard) de la Fressange was born on August 11, 1957. Her father was a member of the French nobility and a stockbroker and her Argentinean mother was a fashion model. Her grandmother, who had a string of titles herself, was an heiress to a fortune from the Lazard investment banking family. This does not sound like a bad start to life.

Ines_Fressange 2Her natural assets of great height (5’11”) and great beauty secured her an exclusive contract with Chanel. When de la Fressange was asked to represent France as Marianne, Karl Lagerfeld and she parted company, as he considered the role to be quite tacky – “everything that is boring, bourgeois, and provincial.” They very publicly buried the hatchet a couple of years ago and she walked in the Chanel fashion show after a 20 year hiatus.

OB-JR041_magazi_DV_20100823182843She had a stint as a businesswoman for a line of high-end clothing that ended in an ugly legal dispute that resulted in de la Fressange not being allowed to use her own name for another business venture. She became deeply depressed and didn’t work for a couple of years.

Ines-de-la-FressangeThese days, she’s back in full form as the brand ambassador for Roger Vivier. Vivier is famous as the inventor of the stiletto and the purveyor of Catherine Deneuve’s (another Marianne) square-buckled shoes in Belle du Jour, but the brand was moribund until de la Fressange got on board. She’s no mere figurehead, but an active participant, down to creating the scent of the candle that burns in each of the boutiques.

Madame-Ines-De-La-FressangeA couple of years ago, de la Fressange wrote Parisian Chic, a guide to her effortless-looking style and compendium of her favorite addresses that sold over 1 million copies. If you enjoy her slightly-bossy insider advice, you should check out the www.RogerVivier.com site; they have a series of videos called Les Carnets d’Inès (lay karnay deenez), or Inès’ Notebooks in which she introduces the viewer to a whole assortment of clothing, jewelry, and house-wares boutiques in Paris in addition to places to get a bite to eat, or even take cooking lessons. (They translate carnet as “diary” on the English portal of the site, which isn’t quite right. A carnet is the type of little notebook you’d keep in your purse to jot down notes. A diary is a journal intime.) Her recommendations aren’t about high cost, but rather quirky individuality. I’m definitely going to check out as many as I can the next time I’m in Paris.

ines-coverIn the videos, you can study her style at the same time that you jot down addresses. Her trademark look is slim jeans or pants, tailored jackets over a vest or sweater in a contrasting color, a white blouse, and, of course, Roger Vivier flats or booties and their big, square-ish sunglasses. She’s a firm believer in high-low style – a T-shirt from H&M with an heirloom bracelet. There’s no better guide to Parisian Chic.

41wHI7TgeGL__SL75_Parisian Chic: A Style Guide by Inès de la Fressange

About Patricia Gilbert

Patricia Gilbert is a French teacher. She's Canadian, lives in the United States, but dreams of living in France. Follow her on Instagram @Onequalitythefinest and on Twitter @1qualthefinest.
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7 Responses to Les Carnets d’Inès

  1. Ellen says:

    Thank you for the links. While I would love to copy de la Fressange’s style, it seems the most essential ingredients are a beautiful face and impossibly slender body. If you have those, it is much easier to look elegant and even to age, without spending a fortune on clothes and jewelry. As Oscar Wilde said, “One should either be a work of art, or wear a work of art.”

  2. Reblogged this on Chez Henriette and commented:
    I love Inès de la Fressange. She seems like she’d be a great girlfriend and doesn’t take herself too seriously ….

  3. Hi Patricia, I love Inès so I’ve reblogged this to my site. I don’t quite agree with Ellen, you can still get the look without being rich or anorexic, here in France anyway 🙂

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  5. Pingback: La Parisienne | One quality, the finest.

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