UNIQLO Paris SS15 Press Preview: Interview with Ines de la Fressange & Naoki Takizawa

Inès de la Fressange is a name you must store in the fashion drawer(s) of your head.

A muse to Karl Lagerfeld and other top designers around the world; Inès was the first ever model signed exclusively to Chanel in the 80s and more recently walked for the fashion house again in 2011. She’s also been the ambassador for Roger Vivier, and served as the model of Marianne – the symbol of France. That’s just crazy. Imagine the image of yourself being used to represent your country!

The French model/fashion designer/perfumer was born an aristocrat in 1957 to a French stockbroker and Argentine model. I found her age terribly surprising as her exquisite features belie its figure (as you will see in the pictures below).

Inès has been featured by the likes of VogueNY MagTelegraph, and ELLE. One of her quotes that cracked me up can be found in an article on The Guardian, regarding her essential wardrobe items to being chic.

She declared the navy sweater being a definitive item, ”This is universal – for men, women and children. Every one has a black one and thinks they look like Juliette Gréco but they look like a rat. Navy will always be beautiful – whether you buy it at Uniqlo or Céline.”

I will never be able to look at a person wearing a black sweater without dispelling images of a rat in my head ever again. (I’m glad to say that i DO own a navy sweater, and from Uniqlo too, so yay me!)

Due to Inès’ authority as a fashion legend and being the quintessence of French chic, UNIQLO has collaborated with her for a third collection for Spring Summer 2015.

I had the immense pleasure of being flown to Paris by Uniqlo for their SS15 press preview to speak to Inès, and Naoki Takizawa – UNIQLO Design Director whom Inès worked closely with for the collection.

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The press preview was held at Atelier Richelieu and spanned two floors. A large airy room on the ground floor was decorated specifically to show off the SS15 Inès de la Fressange x UNIQLO collection; complete with plentiful of interior props for a Southern French ambience and style inspirations on the walls.

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New items in this collection include sports jackets and sweat shirts in vintage styles, each added with subtle yet distinctive feminine accents that is emblematic of Inès. Her signature use of indigo is broadened with the inclusion of caramels and delicate grays.

I love how many cotton and linen pieces there are, making me think of how i’m going to be needing them on my holidays in Asia or summer trips in Europe. Also watch out for a concurrent theme of playful and feminine touches as can be seen in neckline openings, fit and slim silhouettes.

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Parts of my Interview with Naoki Takizawa & Ines de la Fressange

Naoki: We’re all naturally inspired by something. By each other.

Inès: Naoki shows me vintage things that he has, I show him vintage things that I found at a flea market. And then we discuss about fabrics. We don’t have the work feeling that much but don’t tell Mr. Yanai. It’s like seeing a friend and showing them what you’ve found at the flea market and saying ‘let’s do a jacket that is similar’. We have great fun. Fashion is done by crazy people who are finally the most reasonable because we are the ones doing the business in the end. But there’s no planning, he’s much more French than I am, I’m the Japanese one, the serious one. That’s how fashion should be done, with desire and happiness and enthusiasm. It’s not something for intellectual people.

Naoki: I think for a brand like Uniqlo, we don’t follow the trends. We try to think about what the customer needs.

Inès: A lot of down-to-earth things. I don’t find a real raincoat that I want. So I say ‘let’s do it’. We don’t even have a list of things to do. Usually when you design a collection you need two shapes of pants, two shapes of shirts, one coat. It’s done like this nowadays in all the studios. But we never thought of those, we had such freedom, I must say.

Naoki: Also the model and how to show the clothes. With high profile designers like Karl Lagerfeld and Jean-Paul Gaultier, we see what are the good clothes for women. This is a good thing for us, we don’t need to talk a lot, I don’t need to explain to her about the fabric – ‘this is wool, this is the front, this is the back.’

Inès: We work a lot like in the 80’s. It was all about ‘let’s do the things we want’. Now in the studios it’s no longer like that. The fact that there are a thousand shops in the world means that (there is) a lot of fabric and we cannot afford to have good quality fabric because of that. I didn’t expect that (for this collection), having such good quality. I noticed that the pieces that we prefer in the first collection (became the greatest hits in the shops) and this gives us a certain power now. We’ve been showing what we like and what we believe in, and it was disappearing very quickly in the shops.

Which are personally your favourite pieces?

Inès: I think the jacket and jeans is perfection because it is well cut. And that first jacket there, it is very light and with no lining. I could fold it quite small and put it in my case. Wrinkle is beautiful and it will fit with the shirt, T-shirts, it would be easy. This has a classic cut, the colour is great the detail is there.

This is a very strong collection. I can imagine the lifestyle for it. 

Naoki: This collection is much bigger than the last collection.

Inès: And it is also exclusive fabric. Design exclusive. Like this print, it is just for us. We had more time to work and I hope they (Uniqlo) will order more clothes in the shops. I have my friends complaining that they can’t find something in their size. Just today I received a text saying ‘I can’t find the pants in my size.’

Better be quicker next time!

Inès: Haha yeah maybe!

Naoki: What is the temperature during winter time in Malaysia?

We don’t have winter, so it’s 30 degrees all year round.

Naoki: Oh, so quite constant?

Yes quite constant tropical weather. 

Inès: Oh that’s good. Because in France when you go outside you can’t go in a swimming suit into the city. But you don’t want to carry something heavy. And these for instance, they are not shirts and jackets but they are light like shirts. When it’s very heavy, humid and warm you have to dress up a little bit but you don’t want anything. I have the same problem, because sometimes during summer in France it is very very warm but I have to dress very chic so I can’t go just in a T-shirt. I would love to but I have to be a bit dressy because some personality or journalist is arriving. Linen is a dream when it’s very warm, even wrinkle is very beautiful. Cotton is perfection too.

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I had such a great chat with the both of them. It was comfortable as they were jesting and laughing, yet would sit upright when excitedly defending a point. What struck me most was their undeniable passion and devotion to fashion and style, yet not losing their zest for happiness and a fulfilling life.

And i think, no, i don’t think, i KNOW why i feel more connected to the brand after that day. I could see and feel so apparently that their core value is happiness, and it’s so strongly my own too, which is why i’ve felt more of an affinity thereafter.

During another part of our conversation, Inès went off into a passionate spiel. Read it, you can just feel her words spilling out of her soul:

“I prefer not to be that selfish and talk about myself, my image. But I really trust that if I sincerely like something, the others are going to like it. I always notice that things left during sales, left in the shops are the less good things. I trust the customer, even more than the professional people.

The customers are the best, they recognise the best immediately. I don’t think I’m such an example but I trust my desires. And if I think I’m gonna wear it, for the others it will be the same.

I do lots of interviews explaining the Parisian style, on how to mix up things. Most of my life I explain what is the Parisian style. But at the end I know that in a shop, it’s not style that you sell, it’s items.

If there’s a really nice white jacket, people are not going to buy the whole collection they are just going to buy a few items. The whole atmosphere has to be in that one item. They have to be happy even buying just one item.

Each of the things in the collection, we like it. If we didn’t like something it’s out of the collection. Everyone has been asking us which one we prefer, but we like everything. There are many people in Malaysia who have bought our clothes who haven’t even heard of me, they’ve never seen a picture of me and sometimes they don’t even understand that the girl in the picture in the shop is the designer. They just think it’s an old mother. And I don’t care about this, I had all the luck in my life, been famous, been modelling, working with all the best photographers. So my ego is fine.

I’m now much happier if people tell me that they bought a jacket that I did than if they told me they saw my picture in a magazine. It’s like when you have children, people tell you ‘Oh they’re so polite they’re so sweet.’ You’re happy from that much more than if people told you ‘Your skin looks great.’

I’m happy with the success whether they do or don’t put my name in it, it’s not important to me. The rest of the collection of Uniqlo are things that could have been done by me, could have been inspired, and I’m quite proud of it. I know some people are going to wear these clothes in a way that I didn’t expect and mix them up with other clothes that I didn’t do and that’s the game of it.

Finally to answer you shortly, I don’t care if there’s some of me in it or not. I just want people to be happy and I want them not to make a mistake. When they buy something it’s something that they will actually wear and be happy that they bought it. I want them think “Uh oh I only took the white one. I should have also taken the navy blue.” It’s possible at Uniqlo to buy two.”

To view the Ines x Uniqlo collection, visit: www.uniqlo.com/my/ines/

Good luck. I already want half the collection after touching and feeling them all in person.

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Xmas in France 2013

Er wow, i have so much work to dive right into (yay!) that i’m just gonna post up some pix of Christmas first and add the words later XD TA! Busy fairy signing out.

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Me scaring Emma

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Oh i wish i had a cellar! A place to keep all our wines in stellar condition! The best we could do in KL is get a cooler i guess.

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In the middle is Delphine, Clem’s cousin who resides in San Fran. Her children Romeo and Lella are next to her.

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Clem’s cousin Manu is a hardcore ACDC fan. I didn’t even take pictures of everything in that room… especially since there are books, mags and probably clothes in the cupboards too!

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We broke open his ACDC beer and wine, wasn’t too bad actually.

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Christmas in Le Mée-sur-Seine

I’ve been here for almost a week (or has it been a week? No matter, i’m on holiday, don’t have to use my brain) and it’s been a continuous run of eating, drinking and opening presents. Spent the first week just outside Paris and just came to Bordeaux a couple of days ago.

We were supposed to come a day earlier but Clem’s grandfather unfortunately passed away on Christmas Day. He’s been unwell for a couple of years and was 88 years old… and we’re glad he managed to see Clem before he passed on. We were staying in their house for the first few days, and he was holding on with the aid of an oxygen machine. He let go a mere hour or two after we left the house for Bordeaux, and we turned back to stay another night with Clem’s grannie and aunty.

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RIP Papi Jacques

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Some pix of when we first arrived in Paris. We took MAS cos they were having a promo, and flew on the airbus a380. I watched Elysium and Definitely, Maybe on the plane, and let me tell you — i was SO excited just to be able to sit down and watch movies and not do anything. (Think i was just too tired from the whole end-of-the-year work rush.)

The seats were big enough for me to curl up and lie down on my side to rest my head on Clem’s lap next to me to sleep, tho i think i got a bit spoilt flying Business Class for blog trips that when i asked the stewardess for what type of red wine they have, i expected her to say something else after “Merlot”. I thought i could get a malbec or pinot noir if i was lucky :p

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Dom and Serge picked us up from the airport at 7am and we went to Christian and Emma’s place for breakfast.

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Christian is Dom’s brother. Here he is showing off his new jacket.

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After breakfast, we went to get some baguette and wine before heading to Clem’s grandparents’ house. Mmmm the wine shop sold so many interesting wine paraphernalia i was tempted to buy! But i was only allowing myself to shop from Bordeaux onwards cos of having to lug luggage around. While they were looking at wines…

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… i went to stare at the shelves of whisky.

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Day 8: Leaving Cap Ferret

I think I’m not going to drink for at least a week. Well, definitely five days at LEAST. I even had a dream last night where people were offering me red wine and I refused. If I were to put in a pile all the food and drink I’ve consumed in the past week, it would form a shockingly large and extravagant heap.

After spending more time with Clem’s parents and their friend, I realise how completely insane they are. So much more than me… I think.
They throw bread at each other.
They draw on each other when they’ve passed out from drinking too much.
There’s a joke that Didier and Nico are gay and to entertain everyone they started kissing each other and took pictures of their shirtless bodies pressed against each other. In my camera, no less.

My camera is full of random people’s body parts, some which I have no idea belongs to whom. Too many pictures from dinner and walking along a street to a club in Cap Ferret. Will add these at a later date for my own ref!

Day 6: Cap Ferret

Clem and I took an hour’s drive from Bordeaux to Cap Ferret yesterday, to stay in his family’s beach house for three nights.

We got to be alone for the first night, his parents and Nico joined us today, and Clem’s friends will join us tomorrow. It’s a lot bigger than I imagined – with seven bedrooms and bathrooms, including one big bedroom with five beds for children. There’s a French pool table downstairs, inflatable boats hanging from a wall to take to the beach, and lots of games to play. Such a cool family house! Clem said he used to come here when he was a kid, where all his cousins and their parents would stay to go to the beach, cook dinners and the kids would give performances on the wide lawn (which he said the adults didn’t watch cos they were too busy drinking).

The interior is contemporary yet typical of a French beach house you’d see in pictures. White wood, cream sofas, large lounge pillows, cute painted wooden seagulls, and other sea-themed deco. The kitchen is the MOST well-equipped kitchen I’ve seen in my life! Pots and pans of EVERY size (I think there are seven different sized pots alone), countless dishes and utensils, some of which I don’t even know the use of.

 

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Day 4: Bordeaux – L’Entrecôte, Modern Art and Pub

Bordeaux’s beautiful Water Mirror aka miroir d’eau (more info below)

Bordeaux’s Stock Exchange Building

[you can listen to the song above while reading this haha. Clem and i love it.]

I faltered today and had my first packet of Maggi mee. Despite all the amazing food i’ve been having, i just really needed my chili fix you know? It’s so comforting to have spicy salty soup especially when i wake up – which is when i usually have curry laksa, or chicken rice and soup. I’m carrying around the packet of chili powder Chelle gave me like a typical Asian. (It’s something that would appear on a YouTube vid: Shit Asians do overseas.) The maggi soup is even better during the chilly mornings. Weather here is not what i expected. I asked Clem whether a typical summer is like this and he said, “NO. This is weird. This is not summer!” Mornings are a chilly and rainy 16°C, before the sun comes out intermittently from lunch time to 8pm. When the sun’s out, it’s practically hot, but the moment it goes behind a cloud and the wind starts blowing… i’m grappling for my jacket.

Clem and i had a really nice day out together. For lunch we went to L’Entrecôte and i was SO EXCITED. It’s one of my favourite restaurants IN THE WORLD. I wrote about it before *HERE*. We didn’t have to queue as long as last time, but still waited about 20 minutes. I was so excited, holding my stomach, and telling Clem, “This is gonna be one of the HAPPIEST DAYS of my life!”

L’Entrecôte serves steak frites and nothing else for mains. We ordered ours blue and rare. All the pieces are finely hand cut by a man who does that all day, and they come drenched in the most sinful butter sauce. It was so good… i’m salivating looking at this picture again and may ask Clem to take me back there again the day before i leave Bordeaux.

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