If there is one person who appeals to my style sensibility, who embodies those things that appeal to me most, it has to be Inès de la Fressange. Without doubt, she is my greatest fashion influence. Why? Put simply, she prefers flat shoes, she wears her hair short, and she loves to pair blazers/jackets with pants and jeans. Model, muse, designer, single mother and according to what I have read, possibly the first to pair her Chanel jacket with her jeans, Inès is a trend-setter, not a follower. But of course.
Ok, so I don’t own a Chanel jacket (not yet anyway), but that doesn’t mean I cannot embody the essential characteristics of French chic, does it?
Whenever I need to dress as to feel safe, that is, when I want to feel most confident – I dress like Inès does. On most days, or for an occasion, or even when the weather dictates it – I dress in the manner of Inès. It suits me, it suits my body shape; it is me to a T.
Inès was muse to Karl Largefeld in the 80s before a silly falling out, but the two have since made up and in 2010 she walked the Chanel runway again.
Inès on the Chanel runway in the 80s.
Inès with Karl Largerfeld, 1983.
Inès, the first face of Coco parfum.
Her style is simple, elegant, defined by blazer, slim pants, flat shoes, simple makeup (if any) and short unpainted nails, and of course, short hair.
I make no apologies for my Parisian style influences – if you’ve read any posts on I like, I wish, I heart you will already know how much French women are an influence and style barometer for me. And so…
Inès turned photographer on the street during fashion week.
I love that Inès hates super-high heels, even daring to walk the red carpet in flats – a woman after my own heart!
Who says that Red Carpet style has to equal super high heels?
She is smart about shopping for her age, stating that she would never go into a shop meant for women her age because:
“It’s all about your mental attitude: if you accept that fact that you are old and it’s over – you will look old, non?”
Instead, Inès chooses to mix her wardrobe with high-street finds, raiding her man’s closet and then pairing it all with jeans, sneakers or an army surplus coat and ballet flats.
My favourite look: pants or denim jeans with a beautiful blazer. I am in love with this emerald green velvet blazer!
Inès admits that as a young woman she was a perfectionist and not always happy, but “today I prefer to feel good, be happy and appreciate my friends. That’s far more rewarding than being able to wear a miniskirt … I know what fits me – and how to look better quicker.”
Inès with Luigi d’Urso on there wedding day in 1990.
Her husband, Luigi d’Urso, died suddenly of a heart attack in 2006 at only 52. Since then Inès has been a single mother living in Paris and raising her two daughters Nine and Violette. Of learning to be a single mother she says: “I had to bring the joy, the money, the affection, the fun, the authority, everything.”
Inès with daughters Violette and Nine.
As a mother, I appreciate and adore her take on making life easier for yourself by choosing to laugh instead of getting angry – something I strive to do everyday!
“There is a moment when you decide if it is hard or not. If you come back home and it is messy and you decide everything is dramatic then it is dramatic. But if you decide, “Ok, it is messy but it is better to laugh…” Perfect wisdom.
Inès on the cover of French Elle with baby Nine in 1994 and on the Chanel runway in the 80s.
In 2011, Inès wrote a style guide called “Parisian Chic” which I bought and devoured of course, and from which she says: “Invest in these basics: a blazer, a trenchcoat, a navy sweater, a white vest (tank top to some of us), a little black dress and the perfect pair of jeans.”
But my favourite thing about Inès? Well, it is that she doesn’t take herself too seriously.
Sources: telegraph.co.uk, gala.fr, lefigaro.fr, Parisian Chic: A Style Guide by Inès de la Fressange, elle.fr, alltheprettybirds, garance dorè, intothegloss.com