Mom Ines de la Fressange, who you might know from her book La Parisienne or her own brand, is collaborating with Uniqlo once more. We were at the press preview in Paris and talked together with Ines about her new collection together with Uniqlo designer Naoki Takizawa. Ines shared some inspirational points of view on fashion with us, and we love to share her wisdom with you!
What’s the biggest thing you’ve learned from your career in fashion?
It’s better to invest in a few good items instead of buying loads of cheaper items. I was quite a shopaholic, well I still am, but sometimes you buy many things because it’s cheap and you don’t dare to buy something more expensive. But those are the items you really wish for and which you really need. I really had to learn how to shop this way. For example, if you buy a classic navy sweater and white jeans, you know this will be a look that you will wear a lot. Maybe it’s not always fun to shop this way, but you won’t regret it. What I want to say is that you don’t need a lot, to look good.
How does it translate to your collection?
I always think about solutions and situations for women. With situations, I don’t mean a vacation, but everyday situations. Every morning there is the big question ‘What am I going to wear?’ At any age, you ask this question. For these situations, I want to find solutions and it has to be obvious. People don’t see a fashion show, they don’t see the images. They see the clothes on hangers. And everything in my collection can be mixed very easily. And I know that usually, women are not doing like a whole day afternoon shopping. It’s during lunchtime, they have an hour free to buy something new. Usually, it is not really something they need. They have the impression that it is something that can transform their life. I think you should always ask yourself when you are going to wear it, with what and how. It has to be really easy.
How do you apply this way of shopping to your own everyday situations?
I don’t change two times in the day. Of course, in summer I need to be dressed up a little bit, but I don’t want to be too warm. In the wintertime, I don’t want to be cold, but I also don’t want to look like a bear. Usually, I ask myself what I really need.
I am 61 and of course, I can just go for jeans and a t-shirt, and that would look really nice, but now and then I want to dress up. I always make sure I don’t look like a granny either. I try to find things that follow fashion a little bit. For example when I buy a pair of pants, six years ago I liked them very tight, but the proportions are changing so now they are a bit larger, the fit is a bit more oversized.
How does the designing process go for Uniqlo?
I have obsessions, you know, like pants, navy, navy jackets, and there is, of course, a trench coat. This season I designed them a little bit larger. You see the fabric, you see a drawing, and many ideas come up. But then you have to decide! This is difficult because when you see many many many colors of cashmere, you want them all. For the latest collection, I could pick 5 colors, so decisions had to be made. This season I wanted khaki, so that meant I couldn’t have beige one or brown. And I wanted white, so pale blue and pink had to go.
Uniqlo is, of course, a Japanese brand, so how did you combine the Japanese style with your beloved French twist?
I used small little details in the clothing that are very Japanese. What I do is not so much bringing the Parisian/French style to them, it is telling them what I like in them, and what will fit with my style. The contract was not that, the contract was I would arrive and say “In Paris, we do it like this.” But I don’t think it is interesting. I think it is like a wedding, two different people working together. And that’s why it works.
What kind of pieces do you think everybody should have in their wardrobe?
White jeans, even though there aren’t any white jeans in this collection, but you can wear them in winter and summer. But in fashion you can’t say you must or not, we don’t have to wear anything we don’t like. Clothes are not important, many other things in life are.
I don’t think it is good to say to women like, you should be like this or that. This makes us all feel bad. We are all afraid of what people are going to think about us, but we know that in some things we feel better, these are the good things. You start the day badly when you look at your clothes, and all you see is that t-shirt that is too tight, the pants that are too big, or the itchy jacket. You need the clothes that you feel confident in.
You and Naoki Takizawa are both fashion experts, are there things you’ve learned from each other?
I’ve learned that everything is possible. It just depends on who. We are like brother and sister, well better actually because we don’t fight. But we have the same desires all the time. Yesterday when I arrived I was wearing a pair of blue pants and a fluorescent yellow sweater, and he had been laughing because he had images of women in the seventies wearing exactly these colors. And he was thinking like “oh what is she going to say?”. He wasn’t sure that I would like the colors, but I arrived exactly the same.