French Fashion Designer and Model Ines De La Fressange

«After having been PR, boutique director, operator, messenger, and everything else, I’m

finally in the role I like the most – court jester»


1980s model and former face of Chanel, great fashion designer, brand ambassador for the French
luxury label Roger Vivier, a woman honored as Marianne and recipient of the French Légion
d’honneur… A 59-year-old French model and designer of fashion and perfumes Ines de la
Fressange still remains a muse for Karl Lagerfeld.

Well, for some reason, France is considered to be a centre of Fashion and actually a place
where the first fashion trends came from. Maybe that is the main reason why French women
are thought to be the most stylish and chic if compared with other nations. Why all the
people think so?! We can find an answer quoting Ines de la Fressange, “In England people
follow fashion much more than in France. I imagine Bridget Jones working in an office and
dying to go and buy a pair of shoes at lunchtime, you know. French women have a kind of
arrogance. It’s: ‘I ignore fashion, I do my own thing.’” So Ines knows about doing her own
thing! In October 2009 readers of Le Figaro crowned her the chicest woman in France, even
ahead of first lady Carla Bruni!

In brief, she began her modeling career in 1974. In 1975 she appeared for the first time in the
French Elle being photographed by Paolo Roversi, then walked runway for Thierry Mugler
and some of the most famous fashion designers. In 1980s she became the first model to sign
an exclusive modeling contract with an haute couture fashion house, Chanel, by fashion
designer Karl Lagerfeld. When the Chanel contract ended in 1990, Inès decided to eke out a
career as a designer and began working on her own collection. In 1992 in partnership with
Louis Vuitton group she opened her own boutique «INES DE LA FRESSANGE» in a
fashionable area of Paris which sells her own collection along with shoes, accessories,
perfumes and unusual artefacts. It was an immediate success, especially in France, U.S.A.
and Japan. In 2002 she wrote with the Marie-Claire journalist Marianne Mairesse her
autobiography «Profession mannequin» published by Hachette. She appeared a lot of times
on the cover of French Vogue (October 1991), French Elle (31 May 1999), Elle (12 June
2000), Elle (4 February 2008), Madame Figaro (February 2009), Elle (22 October 2010),
and British Harpers & Queen (June 1987) magazines.

But what do we know about her style and way of clothing?! She has always kept a light-
hearted attitude about fashion. Madame de la Fressange in one of the interviews offered
stylish women good advice about how to dress, stressing that “going classic” is very nearly
the kiss of youthful death. She added that it is better to mix genres: if you are wearing an
army-surplus coat, put it with ballet shoes, not heavy boots; if you are in diamonds, then play
them down with a matelot top… and never wear fur. On the 5 th of October, 2010 Ines de la
Fressange walked the Chanel runway during Chanel Spring 2011 campaign at Paris Fashion
Week. She wanted to show that women older than 40 can be sexy too, that women can love
fashion like she does and can have a normal job and enjoy taking care of themselves and
their families.

In her life she follows Winston Churchill’s motto, «The best exercise is no exercise so let me
put it this way». She has never done Botox or plastic surgery either. She went to a beauty
salon in July 2010 for a day and swore she would go back every day in September but she
has not been back since. She likes shopping. She is not attached to objects or clothes at all.
But belts for her are the only things that look better with age. She has a habit to go to a cool
little bistro near the Luxembourg Gardens called Le Chartreux.

Unfortunately, in 2006 her husband Luigi D Urso’, a famous Italian businessman and art
dealer, died of a mild heart attack. Today she lives with two daughters devoting her life only
to them. Ines de la Fressange supports the Orphelinats d’Afrique association and is the
sponsor of Mécénat Chirurgie Cardiaque which help children from poor countries to be
operate for heart in France.

What Ines de la Fressange has is personality, character, elegance, charisma. She radiates
charm and an almost careless attitude toward dressing. She is a master of l’art de vivre in all
its varied manifestations. Her homes are a further expression of her taste in their fearless
decorating styles. Wherever she is – at a chi-chi event, with her daughters, working with
Bruno Frisoni in her position as president and artistic director of Roger Vivier, hugging her
dogs, strutting along a runway, walking down the street – she appears happy.
Her mother Cecilia Sanchez Cirez was an Argentine model. Maybe the gene pool also gave
her that enviable extra-long, lean body which makes for a dream dressing base.

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