Inès de la Fressange

Ines 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.”