We know that Inès de la Fressange was the first model to sign an exclusive modeling contract with an haute couture fashion house—Chanel, specifically. We know she became Karl Lagerfeld’s muse. We know she was named to the International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame in 1998. But there are plenty of things we don’t know about Inès de la Fressange. Happily, The New York Times is changing that! In celebration of de la Fressange’s new book, Parisian Chic: A Style Guide, the Times’ Elaine Sciolino has delved into the stylish life of de la Fressange and compiled her finding into a must-read article! Naturally, we suggest you read the entire article, but in the meantime, here are five things about Inès de la Fressange that you might not already know.
1. She leads an interesting life.
She is wealthy and quadrilingual. She drinks wine and lots of strong espresso. She doesn’t diet. “Potatoes, chocolate, bonbons, wine, bread — I eat everything that’s good,” she said. She is 53, but dared to pose topless for Madame Figaro magazine last year.
2. She can be self-deprecating.
She has just returned from Los Angeles, where she signed a contract to be one of the new faces for L’Oréal. “I told them that France was an old country, and I guess they had to choose an old model,” she said: “They told me, ‘Oh, no, you aren’t the oldest. We had Jane Fonda.’ Facial bags are the new style!”
3. She didn’t just write her new book.
As for Ms. de la Fressange’s 239-page guidebook, it is printed with a leatherlike cover in shiny red with gold lettering. Ms. de la Fressange did the illustrations; her older daughter, Nine, who is 17, did the modeling.
4. She does not believe in perfection.
Asked if she feels like the perfect Parisienne, she replied, “Perfection is a nightmare. A great French wine would be nothing without the taste of the oak barrel or a touch of dust.”
5. She can be cheeky.
She refers to the current love of her life, Denis Olivennes, a media executive, as her “fiancé,” even though they are not engaged. “ ‘Boyfriend’ sounds so childish, ‘partner’ sounds like a business. I guess I could call him, ‘the man I often see in the bedroom in the evening.’ ”
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