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Ines de la Fressange: âGreat style comes from comfortable clothingâ
Here comes the sun: On model (left), linen boat-neck long-sleeve sweater (P1,990), twist pleated long skirt (P1490), and a leather long belt (P1490). On model (right), long coat (P4,990), silk long-sleeve blouse (P2,990,) and cotton tucked tapered pants (P1,990).

Ines de la Fressange: ‘Great style comes from comfortable clothing’

CULTURE VULTURE - Therese Jamora-Garceau (The Philippine Star) - February 12, 2021 - 12:00am

I grew up idolizing model Ines de la Fressange, so when global apparel retailer Uniqlo began collaborating with her in 2014, I was thrilled to have access to the seemingly effortless French chic she stood for.

Seven years later she’s still collaborating with the retail giant, and her latest spring-summer 2021 collection is inspired by Deauville, the French seaside resort she used to summer in with her grandmother.

Coco Chanel reportedly chose this locale for her first fashion boutique in 1913, and the town was a fashion center in the early 20th century. The sight of sophisticated Parisian ladies on the beach and in cafés inspired the young Ines, who has now distilled her collection into three styling concepts: “Day Trip” is inspired by quick outings, so items range from linen-cotton setups and pointelle knits to scarves, belts, and bags. For the first time, UV-blocking hats are included in the collection.

The second styling concept is that “effortless” chic I was talking about, which you can achieve with the collection’s soft, light, and comfortable denim coveralls paired with the accompanying relaxed-fit linen and cotton shirts.

Style icon:  Ines de la Fressange in a linen cotton jacket (P3,990), cotton linen stand-collar long-sleeve shirt (P1,490) and linen cotton checkered easy pants (P1,990) from her spring-summer 2021 collection for Uniqlo, available on Feb. 18.

Thirdly, Parisians love “Marine” styling in spring and summer, hence the new collection offers a variety of navy-hued items, from dresses to coats.

Another thrill: Thanks to Uniqlo I was finally able to interview my idol via email. Here is Ines herself on her SS21 collection for Uniqlo:

PHILIPPINE STAR:  What are your favorite fashion moments in Deauville that sparked your SS21 collection?  I’d love to hear about particular women in outfits that were especially memorable to you.

Hats on: UV Protection Hat (P900), rayon gathered short-sleeve dress (P2,490) and IDLF bag (P1,490)

INES DE LA FRESSANGE:  Many famous designers went to and were inspired by Deauville for a long time, and many photographers went there, too. The city is very much linked with the fashion world. I saw many pictures of elegant ladies walking along the beach. It’s part of my culture. In the end, we are all very influenced by our childhood and what we see during those times. I remember as a child seeing women from high society with evening gowns but also girlfriends of polo players with wide-leg jeans.

What is a typical day in Deauville like for you?  What do you wear when you go to the beach, the market, to a restaurant, or to get together with family and friends?

Many people go to Deauville for the horse races or the Casino, but personally I am not into games, rather I prefer “far niente,” an Italian expression for “doing nothing” (laughs).

Walking on the beach, eating seafood in restaurants, and reading are the kind of things I would do. Having white jeans and sweaters or large cotton shirts would be the kind of clothes I would wear.

Beachy glam: On model at left, chiffon twist pleated short-sleeve long dress (P2,490) and circle buckle belt (P1,490). At right. UV-protection hat (P900) and 3D-knit Skipper collar short-sleeve dress (P2,490)

What are your favorite or essential pieces from the collection, and how would you style them your way?

The first is the trench coat, because you can effortlessly make it part of a great look. Tighten the belt like a ribbon, almost as if the buckle was broken — works wonderfully with everything!

Then there’s the pants-and-jacket look. Sometimes you can express your own style with just a few items. A good example is a beautifully cut dress made from a first-rate fabric. This light suit and light cotton shirt make a perfect summer outfit! I like the unbleached jacket and navy pants.

I love all these items because they are comfortable, elegant, and minimalist. I would say that my favorite style combination is blue and white. And don’t forget this: great style comes from comfortable clothing.

You’ve done so many successful collections for Uniqlo.  What keeps you inspired and enthusiastic about the collections for them?  Do you keep going to the same well or do you constantly seek different sources of inspiration to keep it fresh?

There is mutual trust; it’s a happy wedding. We have had a lot of success together with many collections. And yet each time we are confident enough to take small risks, because there is also the involvement of our customers.

The idea is always to keep in mind the general philosophy of Uniqlo and respect it, but with a witty and playful attitude that tries to move the boundaries a little to be able to bring something more. But fashion is just like any other work: everything depends on the people and I must say that nothing would be possible for me without Naoki Takizawa. Each season we have new desires and we are often surprised they are quite similar.

White is always right: Paper fedora hat (P1,490). sheer cotton stand collar long sleeve shirt (P1,490), cotton nylon shirt jacket (P2,990, and cotton nylon easy pants (P1,490)))

Is it hard to translate the Parisian chic and luxury you stand for into the accessibly priced LifeWear that Uniqlo offers?  How do you do it in terms of fabrication and design?

I have always been convinced we can do good style and good quality affordably. So each season we prove it and it’s very fulfilling.

How and where did you spend the quarantine in France?  How has this pandemic changed your life?

In March last year I was in Provence, in the south of France.  It’s the country so, of course, one doesn’t dress up exactly like in a city, but since the pandemic I think people are looking for more comfortable and casual clothes. It seems everyone is wishing to have more simple items.

In the new normal that we live in, is it important to address issues of sustainability in fashion and lifestyle?

I do think everyone — and particularly the young generation — is very concerned about the planet.

Easy breezy: At left, linen cotton jacket (P3,990), cotton linen stand collar long-sleeve shirt (P1,490) and linen cotton tucked tapered pants (P1,990); at right, UV-protection hat (P900), long coat (P4,990), cotton lawn long-sleeve shirt (P1,490) and cotton tucked tapered pants (P1,990).

Having less but in a better quality, and taking care of items is a philosophy more and more people are willing to have.

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The Ines de la Fressange 21SS collection will be available at Uniqlo stores and through www.uniqlo.com on Feb. 18.

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Follow the author on Instagram @theresejamoragarceau and Facebook (Therese Jamora-Garceau).

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