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Paris through the eyes of style icon Inès de la Fressange

The use of Karl Lagerfeld, model, designer and businesswoman tells everything in this intimate look at her favorite city in the world.

Dynamic, expressive, and a true spirit of chic meets joy d’vivre.Inès de la Fressange has developed an exciting career, never afraid to delve deep in all corners of the fashion industry. The model, illustrator, fashion designer, boutique owner, collaborator of Uniqlo, and Roger Vivier brand ambassador, laughs often and speaks her mind when it comes to the ins-and-outs of reinvention and love for the Parisian scene. “Paris has a sense of tradition but not convention, so it’s good for creativity, also having no prejudices about what can be elegant or not: women know they can get great things in cheap places and they manage to make great looks without brands & labels,” she said.

Her first impression of Paris came as an outsider with a strong connection with the aristocratic women in her family and her heritage. “When I think about my childhood in Paris with my great grandmother it was absolutely like the 19th century: apartments all in red velvet, women with white gloves, drivers with caps,” she recalls, describing the treat of taking the metro from the countryside, even when subway seats where made out of wood. She also credits her grandmother as an inspiration for her sense of fashion and design, “I was spending a lot of time with her, she would dress up in haute couture and at this time I preferred jeans with holes but finally I learned a lot about fabrics and cuts. It helped later when I worked at the Chanel’s studio with Karl Lagerfeld.” She confessed that she only saw Montmartre for the first time when she was already eighteen, and despite her hesitation to visit a “place for tourists,” she was happily surprise.

Inès at Paris Fashion Week ©GettyImages
Inès at Paris Fashion Week at Chanel Womenswear Spring Summer 2020

The author of the trilogy Parisian Chic—a style guide, a city guide, and a look book—lives next to the Panthéon, in the Fifth District, a place she described as youthful and happy with lots of universities and schools. Her first apartment in the city was on Jardins du Palais Royal: “It was like living in a museum! Incredible!”. Now, she wakes up to a garden with a palm tree, both rare and fabulous treasures in the city of lights. “I love to live on the left bank, it’s charming and nice to walk everywhere. Rue de Tournon, Rue de Bourgogne, Rue Jacob are beautiful places. I work in the right bank which is more international and where most of the luxury brands have their offices and shops. My office at Roger Vivier is Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, very sophisticated!” she admits with a laugh.

In the area, she loves Les Jardins du Luxembourg in any season and recommends Le Bon Saint-Pourçain, and Le Petit Celestin, for food. “Both are real clichés of Paris bistros, but they are really very good and are not tourist’s traps.” She has her coffee at Le Cinéma du Panthéon, and to cure the sweet tooth, she loves a good Mont-Blanc (chestnuts cake) or a L’Incroyable (a meringue, cinnamon spiced biscuit, coated with white chocolate shavings), both sold at Aux Merveilleux.

Le Bon Saint Pourcain Paris©@lebonsaintpourcain
Around Les Jardins du Luxembourg, Inès recommends Le Bon Saint-Pourçain for a great meal.

When feeling romantic, she goes to La Butte Aux Cailles. “It is not a very well known district but it looks like a village, it’s nice to take a walk there when you are in love, and of course, along the Seine.” And on the weekends, she recommends to have lunch and people-watch in the food market, Marché des Enfants. For a quick gateway, her favorite place is Deauville: “It is not far from Paris but you are immediately in a different setting by the sea…the light and shrimps are worth it!”

A typical butcher shop’s display window in La Butte Aux Cailles, on the 13th arrondissement, in Paris.

She petty those who have to explore Paris in a rush, or only for a day, but in the best sense of a flaunese fashionista, Inès recommends a walk around the Marais and Saint-Germain-des-Prés, and to stop and go in the department store Le Bon Marché, the multi brand Merci, the Roger Vivier store with “the most beautiful shoes on earth,” and her shop, Inès de la Fressange Paris, a special place to grab presents and beautiful souvenirs for home. Her Instagram, @inesdelafressangeofficial is a love letter to Paris, with her little postcards of corners and moments, and a source of inspiration on where to find unique and beautiful things.

As a woman, she recognizes that even in the hyper reflective world of fashion and design, there is room for improvement. “It’s not the ‘role’ of women that changed but rather the image. Fashion improves every six months, no industry changes so quick and makes self-analysis so often but let’s say the image of older women should appear more in press, maybe.”

Like the city itself—classic, elegant, and yet always trendy—Inès de la Fressange has managed to offer an insider’s look into the French girl style with a universal feel and an innovative approach. “Paris has a long history of fashion and a huge patrimony but above all France has always been a welcoming country for other cultures and all kind of nationalities. Protectionism is bad for creativity; look at the names of most of our designers: they originally come from other countries. So being open to the rest of the world is a key for success.”

The Paris “It” List by Inès de la Fressange

Best Jewelry Designers: Marie-Hélène de Taillac, on Rue de Tournon, and Pascale Monvoisin, sold at Whitebird, on Rue du Mont Thabor.

Best Teenagers’ Shop Where Every One Can Find Nice Things: Soeurs, on Rue Bonaparte.

Best for Vintage Clothes, Belts and Scarfs: Kiliwatch, on Rue Tiquetonne, and Thank’s God I’m a V.I.P, on Rue de Lancry.

Must for Children: Milk on the Rocks, on Rue Mézières, and Bonton, on Rue de Grenelle.

Best Hair Experts: Delphine Courteille, on Rue du Mont-Thabor, and for color, Christophe Robin, on Rue Bachaumont.

Best for Japanese Clothes That Last Forever: 45RPM, on Rue d’Alger.

Best Place For Interior Design: Caravane, on Rue Saint Nicolas.

Best Place For Luxurious High Fashion Fabrics: Jansen & Jansen, on Rue d’Anjou.

Best Place for Wine: Legrand, on Rue de la Banque.

Best Cakes: La Tarte Tropézienne, on Rue Montfaucon.

Best Typical French Cafe With Nice Stoneware on The Walls: The Clown Bar, on Rue Amelot.

Best Flea Market: Paul Bert Serpette, in Saint-Ouen.

Best Restaurants: The small Italian, La Corte, in Rue Saint-Honoré, and Chez Paul, in Rue de Charonne.

Best Multi-Brand Shops: Pieds Nus, on Rue Saint Anne, and Simone, on Rue Saint Simon.

Best Renovated Shop in an Ancient Factory: Uniqlo, on Rue Des Francs Bourgeois.

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