With a patriotic red, white and blue tricolour theme and a nod and a wink to Marianne, the symbol of France, style icon Inès de la Fressange – one of the Hexagone’s chicest women – opens her new eponymous Left bank Paris boutique.
Located in a former foundry, the airy, glass-roofed space has kept the original pitted walls and parquet floors, and together with antique counters and cupboards cultivates the feel of a haberdashery. The space also includes an open atelier/workshop, where de la Fressange and stylist Fleur Demery create limited-edition pieces, including dresses, such as the midnight-blue silk taffeta number (€8,500) she wore to hit the red carpet, as L’Oréal’s ambassador, at the recent Cannes Film Festival.
“It’s not a concept store but a bazaar – my clothes are stocked alongside other designers’ work, objets, home furnishings, sculptures and shoes. And I want to cater for all budgets,” she says, picking up a useful-looking copper hook that costs just €1. “There are no seasons in my bazaar, or in my life,” she continues. “I find that concept sooutdated.” She points to my leather jacket: “You’ll wear your jacket all summer, over a light dress, jeans or a silk top, won’t you?” I nod in agreement and put the little floral crepe top (€550) – just one of 16 – on my wish list, along with exclusive Fifi Chachnil for Inès de la Fressange underwear (from €60).
I glance around, taking it all in… few could resist the de la Fressange handbags in python (€2,300) or butter-soft burgundy leather (€1,200), the muslin beach wraps (from €35) made in Pondicherry and discovered on a recent trip to India, or the perfect pastel-colour broom (€64) by Andrée Jardin. Equally tempting are funky vases (from €110) by Tinja, signature candles (€49), Japanese Happy Shop gadgets (from €1.50), 9ct gold bangles (€399) and bottles of “the best olive oil in the world” (from €15) from Château de Montfrin.
“You don’t have to have been born in Paris to have ‘Le style de la Parisienne’ – I was born in St Tropez. It’s all about attitude,” the former supermodel, Karl Lagerfeld muse and recipient of the Légion d’Honneur insists. “Parisian women are a mix of Bardot and de Beauvoir; they follow the codes, but break them as well.”
So, what’s it like being a brand, I ask. “Good for getting restaurant reservations,” she laughs, adding: “Never leave home without a spritz of perfume and telling your family you love them.” And, with that, de la Fressange is off on her custom-made limited-edition bike (990€).