Inès de la Fressange

Ines de la Fressange

“After years and years of trying different hair products, and makeup, I can say I have had everything—long hair, straight hair, frizzy hair, short hair, no hair, a lot of lipstick, a lot of fake eyelashes…I have tried everything. I understood very late that after a while, you have to be a bit comfortable and that people are not looking at you precisely—it’s a general feeling. But it took me years to understand that they are not looking at how your eyelashes are…except maybe if they are a professional makeup artist. It’s sad that all that you know when you are old, you learn when you are old. You try things, you have the feeling that you need things, when you are young. You think that if you have the right nail color it will change your life. It is good to have few products that are very good quality. I was feeling guilty to buy one Chanel foundation when I was young, but I would buy tons of nail polish or lipstick, for the same price it would cost me to buy one more expensive product. I guess you learn with time, you don’t need a bathroom full of everything. Listen to professional people so you can learn, read the magazines, so you learn things about looking better—I think everybody can look better.

It’s good to have foundation on—it protects your skin from the weather, and nowadays it’s so easy to put it on. I use L’Oréal True Match. If you see the magazines, they will all say, ‘Put it on with a sponge, clean your sponge…’ no one has time for all of this. A professional makeup artist will just throw it away. But if you just put it on with your hands, it doesn’t take long. For some reason people still have this idea that foundation is fake, and that they will look like a wall, that it’s not natural…but natural is terrible; I mean, if this garden [gesturing outside] was natural it would look terrible. [Laughs] I think there are a lot of people that still think makeup is painting on your face. But really makeup makes you feel better, and if you feel better then you look better. That is what I’ve learned, really—that I feel cleaner and neater if I have some makeup on.

I’m really lazy with beauty—for instance, I have products for lazy girls. I never have time to do manicures; I have the 'one minute' manicure products, or things I can put on overnight. I use the same cream morning and evening, no serum, no things for the eyes, or the ears, or inside the ears [laughs]…it’s the same cream for them all. I’m a busy girl you know; at a quarter to nine, I have to drop my daughter at school—I can’t stay for two hours in the bathroom. So I put the foundation on, and I put the mascara on in the car—L’Oréal Voluminous Million Lashes—then the eye shadow...I always have time in the car. The same for the gloss, I have them everywhere. I put on lipstick, then dry it, then put on the gloss. But I don’t know, when you kiss your friend, you get it all over them.

I don’t blow dry my hair straight away when I get out of the shower. I used to wash my hair every morning, but sometimes I think it looks better not totally clean. I think it is awful to have your hair too well done. When you are young, it looks cheap to have your have your hair perfect, and when you are old, it looks tacky. It looks like you want to look wealthy, which is very vulgar. Except some people look very nice with their hair done, but not so many. [Laughs] It gives you a lot of age if your hair is too done—I am fifty-four, and it makes me look much older. I think it is good to take care of yourself, but it shouldn’t show. I hate, for instance, when women have things on their nails, like a French manicure. I think that sometimes women do too much—they put earrings, and color, and necklace, and the lipstick, and fake eyelashes, and fake hair—it’s a nightmare. And I think it’s better to keep a bit of wrinkle here and there; I see these bizarre faces, and after people tell me they have had Botox or fillers, I don’t realize—I just find they have a funny face. [Laughs] Blogs and magazines should explain that it’s fine not to do this. You know, people are not looking at exactly how many wrinkles you have—they don’t care so much. I mean you are old, I am old, it will show…you are not fooling anyone. You have to take care of yourself not to be too disgusting, and to follow a bit of fashion, of course fashion for makeup and clothes as well. You have to look at magazines and blogs, have a little look. Jak and Jil, Tommy Ton—he can see what it takes to make a beautiful picture.

The thing I know, it is important to take care of yourself. My mother told me when I was younger to stay out of the sun, or to put a lot of sunscreen on. Not every few hours like they say on the packet, but every hour. I never exercise, I don’t have time…and anyway, why would I pay a fortune to suffer? [laughs] When I can walk ten miles around Paris? I go by stairs instead of waiting for the elevator. I carry things. It’s important to move and do things. Of course I should exercise. But to take care of yourself, you have to know what are your priorities, and not get too stressed about doing everything perfectly. You always have to think, ‘I’m healthy, people I like are healthy, I have not such a bad life.’

I think for everything for fashion and decoration, you arrive in these places that have spent a fortune, and it’s a nightmare…I think for beauty it’s quite the same. Some people have all the best cream in the world, but they are in huge limousines, too much nail polish, too much crocodile skin, too much lipstick. I mean, people you admire, they are not always famous. The people who are truly important to you in your life are not the movie stars; it might be your aunt or something, not someone especially rich. The people who have really had the influence on you are not the young, rich and famous people, you know? That’s why I like all these blogs, because it’s not the celebrities, the red carpet people who have the best—it’s the people in the queue for the fashion show, and you see a nice handbag, and maybe the face is nice, you think, ‘Where did you find your thing?’ It’s not the ones who all look alike. Yesterday I saw a girl and she had a printed dress, I was quite sure it was Marni, I said, ‘Where did you find your dress?’ And she said, ‘It was my grandmother’s!’ And it was great. That’s the message I always try to give, with girls in fashion, sometimes you just don’t have the right balance, but then you change something—add a belt or a ribbon and it changes it.

For hair and beauty it can be the same. There is this big trend of hair being a bit badly done, on purpose. But it was just someone maybe in the beginning, in an office, or a hairdresser that thought it would be quite cute for it to be a bit undone. It’s like for food, the creative people, when they invent something by using carrots because they didn’t have potatoes? And then it tastes much better with potatoes? For me fashion and beauty is a lot like this too. I love the idea of accidents. But I think nowadays, people are too afraid to have identity, personality; I think we need examples, we need icons for people to follow…but at a certain time, one needs courage. It goes for everything, I don’t like this idea that you need a lot of things—it’s totally untrue. I remember with Lagerfeld, when we were at Chanel working, doing the fittings, he would come with pictures of Léautaud, the famous French writer, wearing tweed jackets, ropes, and old hats… And Karl was arriving at the studio with that, and he would be like, ‘He’s so chic,’ and who would have known that Karl Lagerfeld was coming up with that, that it was the start of the collection. We were all just saying, ‘Ahh, this is perfection!’ you know? I think everything starts by an accident, and everything can be a beautiful accident. But I always say to a young girl when she says, ‘Shall I cut my hair?’ I say, ‘It’s hair, you know it grows, make things, try color,’ because it will come back. When I was young, I was much too serious. I saw that Freja did the under-shave like in the ‘80s, and when the hairdresser Christiaan was starting that I didn’t dare do it, but I was twenty-two, I should have. Maybe I was a square. [Laughs] In youth it’s okay to take a risk, but no tattoos, no things that stay.”

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  • Les Cahiers d’Héloise

    She's so inspiring. I think she's one of the best French beauty and fashion icons. She looks effortlessly elegant...

  • Capitalist Pancake

    I adore this woman. It's true, isn't it - it's wonderful to look great, but it's so important to know that great doesn't necessarily have to equal perfect.

  • Claire

    Best one yet. I love her take on beauty and fashion- be yourself, take things in moderation but don't be afraid to explore. I absolutely agree that too much perfection (nails done, lipstick, fake lashes, perfect hair, botox, i.e. "the real housewives look") is not attractive. So much wisdom in this post! Thank you for this!

  • monkeyshines
  • morgan

    wise, wise, woman. i took so much from this!

  • Mioara Roncea

    I've been watching Ines for a long time. A true inspiration. So happy to find her here.
    Thank you.

  • MyDearGirl

    I squealed when the screen popped up! i love that she uses L'oreal foundation. She's so real.

    Loved this post. By far the best I've read..(and I've been here since the begining.)

  • Stephanie

    oh I love this women, she is so classy and real. I would love to have her as Aunt or relative :)

  • Audrey

    A lot of wisdom here! Couldn't agree more on her view on fashion and beauty; embracing and highlighting oneself instead of trying to portray someone else.

  • Serdane-elie

    She is so simple, I admire her. I met during the Paris Haute Couture two days ago at Dior and the day after for Chanel and she was so easy to speak with her, no diva thoughts. It is like she was not a famous model...

  • Sashi

    I agree, I prefer when you can not place where a woman bought something or the brand. Just simply it looks great and improves her overall presence.

    Secondly I appreciate the gentle guidance and advice to a younger generation. I know too many older women who criticize and belittle the choices and looks of young women and it sounds so bitter and envious. Innes is much kinder.

  • Mariela

    Beautiful piece, she's so laid back, she holds that kind of french allure doesnt she? Love her.

  • Beatriz

    I like this. Hey, L'Oreal owns half of the brands cited in this blog; one might as well save their hard-earned money and use their products!

  • Dianna

    This post is very meaningful for me, though there is almost mentioning of products :) I found it resonating curiously with my values. I guess I also never shared fascinations with celebrities, and do not find that world that exciting. I just think that if you have a life like that on regular basis, you treat it as normal - so having access to all those beautiful products and gowns is a norm to those people. There are gazillions beautiful confections in the fashion world created by talented people and by having them all or any that you want makes none of them truly special. But taking care of yourself, making yourself look the best you can is important - not via fake lashes or beautifully put together hair-extensions (cause everyone knows that they are fake!) but via sensible things one can do. Anyways, thank you for an incredible post, made my day!

  • Anonymous

    What a wonderful women. Confidence truly is more attractive than physical beauty. She is a great reminder to not take yourself so seriously.

  • MGF

    Every French girl and woman has a little bit of Inès in herself. She's France.

  • Joy Of Stranger Sensibilities

    She's such a great icon. Can't believe you scored an interview with HER, but of course as always we're so grateful :)

  • sandra semburg

    this os one of the best ever on your blog, it's so easy and honest and gives so much wise inside. Inès has such a great attitude about beauty and getting older, well life in general, very inspiring, thanks

  • Inès

    She's amazing! She wrote a style guide called "La Parisienne", I think it also exists in english. A must-have!

    • CK Burner

      I have it in English and I love it :)

  • Sweetness10

    Absolutely brilliant! Incredible words of wisdom and I couldn't agree more. This is the best, most inspirational thing I've read in an incredibly long time! Thank you so much for sharing xx

  • CK Burner

    I have been waiting for this one!!! :-D

  • Anialysis

    Just discovered your blog!! What a great thing! I really like it and I am happy I found it! Keep on doin' great job!

    Stop by : say Hi! ;)

  • Michelle L. Rodriguez

    Oh, how I adore her!!!!
    Thank you Emily.

  • Chesney

    I love this so much. Probably the most inspiring thing I've read on this blog. I'm going to go ponder these thoughts now. Thankyou for the inspiration :)

  • ObliqueCut

    I was also thrilled to see her in the feature and she's of course totally right, and an inspiration, about ageing, fashion etc.

    However, I can't help but wonder: she only mentioned 1 Chanel product and about 3 from L'Oréal. Both firms she's had (still having?) contracts with.

    And why I can see how using just one cream morning and evening would be totally her, I can't believe l'Oreal and Chanel is all she uses... I would have loved a better insight into the secret of her amazing looks, at 54.

    • Claire

      Yeah, Innes was a L'oreal ambassador as recent as last year so I wasn't surprised at the mention.
      But I think the real secret to her amazing appearance is good genes and talented makeup artists and photographers. I wish I could have an amazingly thin figure by just walking and climbing a couple of stairs.

    • Stylepov

      I don't think she can mention anything other than L'Oreal's (bounded by her contract), that's why she focused more on the 'wisdom', I supposed.

  • 4jsc

    What a get! So, so glad you got to do this interview. Good for you! Really good for us!! She is awesome, amazing and she uses True Match. Love, love, love.

  • Diamenrose

    I really liked this post. This woman has true words...when people coming from the entertainment industry would read such kind of posts maybe they would understand or remind that the perfection of beauty is sometimes just around the coner and there is no need to force it.

  • Honey & Silk | Stephanie

    This was a very different yet most inspiring article/interview yet :)

    xo Stephanie
    honey & silk blog
    follow on twitter

  • Angelica

    Love Ines and Nine. They are so inspiring. They have that effortless chicness that most French femmes inherently posses. I think Garance Dore should be your next Top Shelf!

  • Hanna

    There is so much good stuff here I had to read it twice! For me, this is the takeaway: "People are not looking at you precisely—it’s a general feeling." It's so true. The people who are most beautiful radiate a general aura. It's not about perfection, it's about style.


    • Becky

      I agree, that was my favorite bit too. It's so true - you can get so caught up trying to cover each little blemish so as to be totally perfect when really, hardly anyone is actually looking at you that closely. It's the general impression that people notice.

      It's so lovely that she and all these others are so generous with their time and wisdom.

  • Nik


  • arnie barney

    Ah this is the best post here ever. :) Love her.

  • arnie barney

    Hey I was planning to do that, too! More girls should listen to her advice.

  • yun
  • The Blossom Shed

    Another lovely interview, I love how you transcribe the conversation, it gives it a really informal feel, like you're sitting down with someone and having a chat:)

    The Blossom Shed

  • Deborah Kirkwood

    Truly a woman to admire...I wish her attitude prevailed in the US, especially where I live-everyone is overdone!

  • Ila

    I love love Ines De La Fressange! I have her book- it's so cool. Thank-you ITG, i love it when interview people who are so Frenchy so chic :)

  • Tlrussell

    Love her outlook!

  • Outreaffair

    I got so much out of this article. What a unique woman.

  • n+e

    Love her style. Would love to know where she got her beautiful gold bracelets.

  • Ninee

    I love this woman and what she says in this article. I am just a bit disappointed that she namedrops only L'Oréal products for the ones she is currently using and she is a L'Oréal covergirl... It is just so predictable. I wish she had namedropped that one cream she uses for everything when she says "I use the same cream morning and evening", no name given! :)

  • Natalia Garrett

    She is my type of girl...words of wisdom always!

  • Samantha

    So interesting to hear her thoughts on everything! She's just so honest! It's refreshing!

  • Patty Baragar

    Wow. This made my day. Thank you ever so much

    My lifestyle/beauty blog is Pretty Grounded

  • Thebeautyphilosopher

    I love it - at last a women that is not ashamed to say foundation is important! Well at least, important if you want it to be. A tiny bit of foundation does a lot to lift my own spirits. I'd rather wear foundation and nothing else than have beautifully done eyes, lips etc only to feel let down by my skin.

  • Casey Adams

    I hope to be like Ines when I will have her age ! so beautiful ! I'm fan of her

  • Mezzanine

    Truly, truly wonderful-love this!

  • Lindsay K

    What an inspiration. Thank you for posting this. I always love hearing her take on beauty, health and aging. It's good to be reminded that I am only in my 20s and wisdom and grace are beautiful.

  • Candice

    Oh, I adore her.

  • Charlotte

    I've kinda just discovered this woman after I noticed her kick ass style, thought she was about 40. She's inspirational. That bit about women having too much crap on like eyelashes, lipstick, jewellery, big hair - so so true. Nothing is more vapid and unattractive to me than a much too done up woman.

  • Liza

    I love her book Parisian fashion. She truly is a french fashion icon. Simple, effortless, chic.

  • Alexis

    Ines, I HEART you from the first time I saw you in the 1984 Coco fragrance ads up till this very moment. You'll always be in the top 10 of my favorite beauty icons!!

  • Bsheridan

    What a wonderful post. Her comments are so refreshing and authentic; just like the woman herself.

  • M.C.W.

    This is so true and so inspiring when the women are living in the tragedy by the materialized society. Thank you very much!!

  • Saskia

    I live in Paris and have a great admiration for Ines' elegance and style, hence I loved your article. May I recommend my own little post on our French site about Ines and her style guide? Merci!

  • Annabellaholliday

    Just typed I.d F into Google and found this fab post, but I was hoping to buy more of her amazing scent. I am so disappointed to read in your comment that it is no longer available. Quiet sob x

  • Allyson Rowen Taylor

    I admire your thoughts and ideas and agree with you on all the issues. I live in Los Angeles, the home of the worst extensions, plastic surgery and boob baring older women. Sometimes I think that they cannot really see how they look, otherwise I don't think they would leave the house. I have decided to take care of myself, my skin, and eat well and exercise and let every line tell a story of my life.
    Thank you for being such an inspiration.

  • A Groot

    this woman is nice and wise i learned a loth of here , and so beautyfull

  • Anna

    Wonderful inspirational woman We love your elegance,style, charisma , beauty .Long May it last.anna xx