“They come and tell me ‘mummy, you look tacky, don’t go out this way’, [daughters] see you in a special way,” laughs Ines De La Fressange. And it’s just that kind of self-deprecating humour that makes the model, International Best Dressed Hall of Fame-r and Karl Lagerfeld muse all the more charming and utterly enchanting. Grazia Daily hopped aboard the Eurostar to cross the channel and pick the brain of one of the world’s most admired fashion icons ahead of the launch of her collaboration with high street staple Uniqlo.
“[They’re] all about publicity and huge contracts and marketing, I hate it! It's disgusting,” says Ines, quick to clear up any suggestion that the pairing is another of the high fashion meets high street collaborations that have been sweepingly taking over. “I’m an old lady with a beautiful and fantastic past, and I don’t want to lose time doing these kinds of things. I’m not looking for a new contract and things like this,” she says with a customary flick of her hand, “that’s the big difference. If people go and buy the things and don’t even notice that I’ve been working on it, I don’t care; I don’t have an ego anymore. It’s the exercise I find interesting.”
Based, essentially, on Ines’ own wardrobe, Uniqlo creative director Naoki Takizawa who sits perched on the sofa next to the supremely elegant Ines explains how the collection shy’s clear from trends, choosing instead to go for the reality of what a woman would wish to wear. “The question is what would fundamentally make beauty for the woman body, she knew that,” he explains. “I think particularly we just [had a] conversation of what’s the reality of what a woman wishes to wear. Not the branding or not too much the concept of the trend.”
This is more than evident in the final products, which we saw flying off the rails at the official launch party for the collab in Paris’ flagship Uniqlo store the eve of our interview. Floral tea dresses, chino’s, cardigans, shirts and excellently crafted jeans just a few of the pieces which expertly combined Uniqlo’s prowess for the staple with Ines’ elegant Parisian chic.
“It’s a very easy collection,” chimes in Ines. “Even somebody who has absolutely no taste can just pick up things and it will be fine.” Having been in the fashion industry since the early 80s, Ines explains how she believes there is a recipe for fashion, something she aims to have provided with the collection, set for release in UK stores next week. “We have to imagine clothes that people will understand immediately and they will actually wear and they will really look better,” she explains. “I don’t want to make a revolution in the history of fashion, that’s not my purpose. I just want to help these girls who have an hour for lunchtime and they go to Uniqlo and they want something great that will bring a lot of joy to their lives.”
“With Uniqlo you can be a shopaholic without guilt,” laughs Ines, cheekily adding that she’s obviously just come up with the tagline for the next collection (because yes! There are two more in the pipeline).
This concept of affordable beauty is something inherent to the collaboration, with Ines stressing the importance of beauty throughout. “I went to the Chanel show a week ago for the ready to wear and they did the supermarket and all the boxes of spaghetti and everything was absolutely beautifully designed and all that and I was thinking why in the supermarket things don’t look like this? People’s every day lives would be so much better. I think beauty should be for every day, daily. This idea that beauty is only for luxury and expensive things… it’s so absurd.”
The Ines De La Fressange x Uniqlo collaboration is available online now and in UK stores from Thursday March 20th. Have a sneak peek in the gallery below...