Ines de la Fressange has opened a new store in Paris – and Riri is buying into her Parisian look
When Rihanna pranced around in a frilly little top, posting her cool, girly look on Instagram, her fans could make a guess where the top came from.
One of the cruise looks of a star designer? Something fancy she pulled from her closet?
‘I don’t think she knows that it is homewear,’ said Ines de la Fressange, who has resuscitated grandma’s favourite cotton clothes to wear in the kitchen or the garden and turned them into desirable pieces for her store on the Left Bank of Paris.
Picture credit: Alessandra d’Urso
Ines, who famously took to the Chanel runway in Karl Lagerfeld’s early years at the house, has created a must-go shopping stop — the polar opposite to those grand luxe labels.
As I walked into the store on 24 rue de Grenelle, I was whammed by two contrasting elements: the worn walls with a rich patina from the former bronze-maker’s shop; and the vivid colours of the homewear, including kitchen gadgets and simple wooden toys.
Then there are the clothes, all with a certain innocence, such as flowered cotton you might find at a vintage fair.
Ines is quick to point out that whereas the walls might have kept their charm after 50 years, clothes from the same vintage can look tired and oddly cut.
But true to the spirit of the former owner, who had a workshop creating lamps and chandeliers, Ines has a back room of her own, visible to the public. There you can watch a team of creative talents at work, including Fleur Demery from the South of France Souleiado dynasty of printed fabrics.
The hand workers are also specialists in ‘leftover’ fabrics. Ines takes a pick of fine materials from high fashion brands such as Lanvin, making perhaps a dozen pieces that can never be repeated. One of her grand gestures — a swooshing ink-blue evening dress — she herself wore to the Cannes film festival.
While I was at the store looking at a line-up of colourful ballerinas, Egyptian cotton sheets, sunglasses or scarves, all facing off kitchen wear, I was reminded of old-fashioned country shops that sold a range of useful things.
Ines has tried her hand at fashion before, with a licensee interpreting her ideas. But now she has bought back her name. And judging by the number of people of all ages streaming through the door, this is a boutique whose quirkiness is its appeal.
Suzy and Ines