In this week's issue of Grazia we chat to 55-year-old French supermodel Ines de la Fressange. Ines has been working in fashion for four decades with the likes of Saint Laurent, Cecil Beaton and Helmut Newton, but she is still on top as she has just announced the return of her eponymous label.
Grazia's Senior Fashion News & Features Editor Katherine Ormerod sat down with the fashion icon and said that: 'Meeting Ines de la Fressange is a bit like meeting a raucous version of Coco Chanel. So effortlessly chic, but still completely accessible, Ines laughs often and is so self-deprecating, you can’t fail to warm to her.
Katherine added: 'Of course she is also beyond chic, turning a simple cotton shirt and jeans into something inimitably Parisian with ultra-chic pumps from Roger Vivier and an eclectic selection of jewellery. As she says she is ‘in the dictionary of fashion’, but there is nothing old fashioned about Ines de la Fressange. No wonder Karl loved her so much!'
Ines walking in Jean Paul Gaultier couture, on the cover of Le Figaro and walking for Chanel
Here are the top 10 reasons why we love her here at Grazia Daily...
1. She is part of fashion history
Ines has been in fashion for almost FOUR decades. She said to Grazia in this week's issue: 'For a long time, I was a stupid French girl trying to be intellectual, and I complained about my modelling career, saying it was not creative. But I've met Cecil Beaton, Helmut Newton and Guy Bourdin, and even visited Yves Saint Laurent in Morocco. Now they are part of the history of fashion, and I realise that I've had huge luck in my life.'
2. She mixes high street in with her Chanel-tastic wardrobe
Ines said to Grazia: 'I love clothes and think it's much more chic to mix some expensive things with cheaper things. Even when I'm 99 years old, I'll be in Topshop in my wheelchair. Unfortunately there's no justice when it comes to perfume, haircuts, bags and shoes. It must be good quality - and that means it must be expensive.'
3. She doesn't try to have it all
When Katherine asked what are her tips for nailing the work-life balance, she revealed 'the secret is that I don't juggle anything. My dog is too fat, I never have time to take him for a walk, and when I see him, it's pathetic. At home all the bulbs need to be changed and our carpet has holes in it. The only thing in the fridge is a packet of ham that's slowly changing colour. My boyfriend is always complaining, and I never have time to get a manicure, so my nails are rotten. Nothing is perfect but, thank God, because otherwise I'd be like a statue.'
4. She was Karl Lagerfeld's original muse
In the 1980s Ines became the first model to sign an exclusive modelling contract with Chanel with fashion's fairy godfather Karl Lagerfeld, meaning she lived and breathed Chanel. She was the first of many of his Chanel muses.
5. Ines doesn't feel the pressure to get 'work' done
When Katherine asked Ines if she feels the pressure to get a nip or tuck she replied: 'Look you start ageing at 18, and now I'm 55, I'm pretty used to it.' At 53 she stripped off for the cover of Le Figaro, covering her modesty with nothing but a starched white shirt.
Mirrored clutch, £1,250, 'Comma heel' court, £575, Suede Prismic bag, £2,450, and Mirrored Prismic bootie, from £785 - all Roger Vivier
6. She walked in Jean Paul Gaultier's Couture catwalk in 2009
She made a triumphant return to the catwalk in 2009, as the 51-year-old mother of two walked in a black Jean Paul Gaultier tuxedo with nada underneath. Gaultier was so excited to have the super star in his show that he ran after her and tackled her down the runway.
7. She was the Marianne of France
The model was chosen to model the bust of Marianne, which symbolises the French Republic, in every city hall. To put it mildly, Karl wasn't so keen on her new job title, so Ines broke her Chanel contract in 1990. The pair eventually ended their twenty year feud when she walked with Karl in the Chanel spring-summer 2011 show.
8. She helped re-launch the Roger Vivier label a decade ago
Ines helped to reinvent Roger Vivier in 2003 when she was appointed as the brand ambassador. Publisher Rizzoli has released a new book about Vivier, which is a scrapbook of Ines' ideas. Ines said to Grazia: 'My main obsession is to show that Roger Vivier is the most elegant brand you could ever imagine, but certainly that it's not about that square, boring French look.' Ines also has her own video diary series on the Roger Vivier website, where she shares everything from gift ideas to her favourite Paris hangouts.
9. She is just about to re-launch her own label
In 1991 Ines founded her own eponymous label, but just last month she announced that she is back in business.
10. She was known as ‘the model that talks’
Ines is painfully chic with her monochrome Chanel uniform and short 'do, but she also has buckets of personality. She got a reputation as 'the model that talks,' as you can always rely on Ines to dish out quoteable one-liners.
Get even more of Ines by taking a look through her greatest style moments in the gallery above and don't forget to pick up this week's issue to hear more from Ines