Inès de la Fressange Brings Parisian Chic to Uniqlo
What do you get when you combine your quintessential French fashion icon with “Japan’s answer to Gap?" Basically, the moment we’ve all been waiting for. The current collaborator for luxury shoe designer Roger Vivier and former muse of Karl Lagerfeld Inès de la Fressange has taken her elegant French charm to Uniqlo, master of stylized basics.
Made in collaboration with creative director Naoki Takizawa and featuring masculine shirts, subtle prints, and of course, color, her line presents affordable pieces with expensive European flair, taking on high fashion from the lens of street-style. She tells The Telegraph:
Naoki went through my wardrobe and he was expecting to see beautiful long dresses and Chanel and he pulled out old tweed jackets. It's not good to have too many things. I've had everything in my life — all the crocodile bags I could want. After a while, you realise you don't need a lot, you just need the good things.
Uniqlo noticed her attraction to quality and timelessness in her best-selling style guide, Parisian Chic. Tadashi Yanai, founder and president of Fast Retailing, which owns Uniqlo, read that she was a customer and pursued her Parisian expertise.
From fitted khakis and France-frolicking approved shirt-dresses to cuffed sleeves, cropped pants, and collared V-necks galore, the collection bears resemblance to Gap’s recent “Lived In” campaign. This makes sense considering Yanai is said to have intensely studied Gap as a basis for the Uniqlo business model. According to De la Fressange:
There was a confusion in the 1980s and 90s that expensive is best. Quality, creativity, savoir faire, all that is important. It's not the brand, it's the creativity, the idea. And also the clothes. They are not art, they are to be worn. And not only by models. All my friends are too tall, too tiny, too fat, too round, and they are nice looking — but they are not models. And I think this is interesting, to make everybody beautiful, because models, they can put on any old white T-shirt and look gorgeous.
De la Fressange, focused on accessibility, seems to view fashion in a different way than many of the creative professionals that inhabit the industry. Uniqlo has ambitious goals to become the leader in retail worldwide. With the understanding for the chic factor found in comfort — and for the ubiquitous desire to attain French style — this collaboration brings the brand one step closer to fashion domination.