Friday, March 20, 2009

Fashion Icon: Ines de la Fressange

Older models have been gracing the fashion pages with increasing frequency, and one of the best possible comebacks is that of French model, muse, and designer de la Fressange, who walked for Jean-Paul Gaultier's haute couture show in January.

I'm especially fond of her because she started a fine fashion house of her own in the early 90s, offering chic and cheerful everyday wear for a primarily French following. In what seems to be a particularly snakey maneuvre, her investors fired her while she was on maternity leave, but she took them to court and won damages for unfair dismissal.

So welcome back, Ines! The photo here, from 1984 (from Bettina Zilkha's Ultimate Style), is an object lesson in how to look amazing even when you're just running around, doing stuff on the weekend. You have your casual basics: ribbed turtleneck, whatever dark trousers below, bags filled with whatnot slung over a shoulder.

BUT, you also have a great hat, which is not going to crease and smoosh and look a wreck, even after you accidentally sit on it. You have an Hermes belt, which costs a mint but you throw on with a Gap turtleneck because you're French (come to think of it, this is probably the only way to stylishly wear an Hermes belt). You have a fab pair of bicolor driving gloves, ditto.

And most important of all, you have a wonderfully soft cashmere scarf, that you loop and knot artlessly around the neck. This is a trick any woman, with any sort of budget, can easily replicate, because it doesn't have to be cashmere, any good fine woolen one will do. It's important, though, that the color does wonderful things for your skintone. You can wear one like this even when it gets warmer, in linen rather than wool. It instantly takes a casual top from unremarkable to stylish.

(memo to self: find a pair of bicolor driving gloves . . .)


  1. nice blog. I am regular reader of this blog and i have found interesting blog on fashion accessories.

  2. Many thanks, Jeff, and thanks for the link . . . it's a cool site and reminds me that I want to write about ascots . . . xC

  3. Ines has been great from the beginning. I saw her in a show in Paris in '81 ...pre- Chanel. The designer was Jaques Esterel and it took place at a stable in the Boi de Boulongne. They sent her out on a horse that got overly excited and took off with her on his back. Racing around out of control and she astride just laughing and holding on for dear life. She was great and like always, a consummate professional. Beautiful, always.