Inès de la Fressange Taught Us to Be French

Photographed by Danielle Kosann

With the arrival of April always comes a desire to hop over to Paris for a spring jaunt. That’s why we’re throwing back to a little inspiration from arguably one of the chicest French women of all time…

Inès de la Fressange is the French woman of our dreams. We wish that we were French on a near daily basis; calling us Francophiles would be an understatement. As both a celebrated author and designer (she’s also the ambassador to Roger Vivier), we knew that there was no one better to ask for food, skincare, and style advice than de la Fressange. Her secret to being so effortlessly chic? It all has to do with looking more undone than done and caring a little bit less: Yes, imperfect is actually perfect. Tie on a scarf, don a beret, and read below for our full interview; you’ll feel a little more elegant just reading it, we guarantee it.

From start to finish, what would be your ideal food day? 

Popcorn, hot dogs, milk shakes and scones. Not really fashionable right?!

How do you practice beauty from the inside out?

I sleep and try not to be too self-conscious. I smile.

What are your morning and nightly beauty routines? 

Avène creamsChanel makeupCrealine H2O make up removerJulien Farel hair productscrème à l’abricot Dior for nails, Mitsouko Guerlain for perfume.

How do you always start your day? What’s your go-to breakfast and coffee order? 

I have tea with lemon in the early morning and later fresh orange juice or fresh carrot juice. Sometimes around 11am I have bread and butter. 

Why are American women so obsessed with French women?! And (more importantly) how can we be more like them? 

Why?! French women are not better. 

What’s the key to effortless French style? Is it really effortless? 

Let’s say they are less about following trends: they buy and wear things not to show off but to feel more confident. French women keep their old things and mix vintage with new, casual with sophisticated, and they don’t care to look wealthy.

Five tips to looking completely effortless and chic simultaneously (aka looking French)…

Wear less, avoid furs that make you older, try the look with flat shoes. Buy my book!

How, in your mind, does the diet of French women and American women differ? 

Maybe they are less obsessed with dieting? They [French women] stop eating when they are not hungry anymore. They don’t eat between meals. They don’t drink much alcohol and never drink cocktails. 

Advice you’d give to women getting up, looking in the mirror and getting dressed…

Listen to music and watch yourself in a mirror, even if you are in a bad mood.

Can you share a tried and true beauty secret (something you’ve always done) with us? 

Always take the time to take off your makeup everyday. 

What’s your go-to look for a night in? 

Take care of the one you love, and go to bed early. Have nice t-shirts from Save Khaki or Uniqlo, even their sweatpants look great! Wear (light) makeup even on weekends. Why would your favorite person on earth deserve lesser treatment than strangers you meet during the week?

If we want to be thin and not work out, what advice would you give us? 

Only you know what you can eat or not. Just eat slowly and stop when you are not hungry anymore.

Any surprising ways in which French women would want to be more like American women? 

French women would love to have great hair like American women, and to have great attitude with casual looks.

Do you have any DIY home beauty remedies? What are they? 

Avocado and honey on hair, but I never do it!

What do you think is the key to aging gracefully? 

Stay curious, enjoy the new generation, keep listening to The Rolling Stones, don’t wear only brand clothing. Keep going to teenager shops, mix your clothes, don’t put on too much jewelry, and avoid plastic surgery (that’s for old ladies).

Do you have a dinner that was most memorable? What was it? 

Yes, with Princess Diana. She wanted to meet me – I don’t know why – and I found her charismatic.

What are your favorite restaurants in NYC? In Paris? What do you get at each spot?

NYC: Barney Greengrass for bagels, Paris: le Bon Saint Pourçain for leeks.

What are your other favorite cities for food?

Jaïpur, India.

What is the one item every woman should own?

A pair of Roger Vivier shoes. And a razor!

In the same vein as ‘what is the new black’ in fashion, what’s the new potato right now?

Every week I try to find it in my newsletter, translated by a stupid robot. This week let’s say everything that is pink!

3 thoughts on “Inès de la Fressange Taught Us to Be French

  1. Ines sounds absolutely delightful! And in a former life I was a French woman with her ideals. And I love the things you spotlight. I also love the fact that this site is for intelligent, yet discerning people. Keep up the good work.

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