Ines de la Fressange… Yes, she is as pretty as you imagine

August 20, 2012

I have to tell you…

Inès de la Fressange is totally gorgeous. This morning my daughter and I saw her up close and personal at our local flea market. The woman is perfection… she is everything and more that you read. Saturday morning… it’s early and we are out and about at a dusty flea market where looking chic is the last thing on our minds. Inès de la Fressange could have graced the pages of a fashion magazine or strolled out onto the runway… she was effortlessly chic and gloriously pretty. So much softer, more feminine and more beautiful than her pictures show.

What intrigued me was that my 27 year old daughter and I had the same reaction. Inès de la Fressange looked like a goddess… ok, she is 5’11 and is as slim as a pretzel… but we both thought she looked the perfect picture and both of us wanted to be wearing what she was wearing by the close of day. She was ‘Parisian Chic’… and although she is 55, my daughter would love to be working the same look on the weekends… It makes me smile when I see my beautiful daughter admiring someone of Inès de la Fressange’s age… it gives me a great boost and much encouragement that the style of an older woman can be revered by the young..

What was she wearing?

A generously proportioned white shirt, ‘boyfriend’ jeans, skinny leather belt and flat espadrilles. Over her shoulder was a slouchy bag and a pair of fabulous sunglasses were in her hand… We all have jeans and white shirts… but it was the shape of the jeans and the fullness of the shirt… it was the style of the handbag and the simplicity of the belt…

Seeing Inès de la Fressange  was a great reminder that it’s not all hype about French woman and how good they look… Some of them really do… xv

Ines’ Little Diaries… here

Parisian Chic… here

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  • I have learned so much from her and been inspired by her in the last couple of years…I would have loved to see her up close and personal. Great to know that she even looks fabulous at a flea market. I think I will go fix up to go to the grocery!

  • Karena says:

    Vicki I adore her effortless look; even though you can see she pulls everything together beautifully! I am always proud to see a woman of this age so elegant and confident!

    Art by Karena

  • Beautiful woman. Oh to be that tall.
    Have a happy weekend, Vicki.

  • Vicki, I totally agree. She is so very chic and how lovely to know she is genuinely so in person. Its such a coincidence that I highlighted her yesterday on my Style by Anna page!

  • How lucky are you? An Ines sighting at the market?! Ines has always had effortless style and elegance, but she is also a great gal and a resilient woman, and it probably shines through, even when she is dressed that simply (of course, being an AMAZON woman does not hurt, either.) The lady is a class act. Have I mentioned you were lucky?! :-) Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

  • PS: I wonder if she ever visits Seattle’s Pike Place Market? I would love snatching a photo of la Grande Ines and add it to the “Market gallery” I posted on the blog this week! == Right. Dream on, French Girl in Seattle! :-)

    • Vicki, please excuse me for crashing a comment but Veronique, I did see none other than Catherine Deneuve cruising a fabulous mink poncho at that ultra huppé vintage store very close to Pike Place Market so it is possible!

      Merci for this very, very inspiring post. The best things are simple whether we are a glamazon or not!

      • david terry says:

        Hey Heather,

        Perhaps I’ve never told you (not that this is exactly news), but Herve’s been pals with Catherine for years (he was th4e attending physcian to a close friend of hers who was dying). My to-do list for tomorrow includes going back over to the old house in durham, where I plan to dig up the hydrangea she sent me for my birthday eight years ago.

        On the day the thing arrived, I was packing (and predictably freaking-out) for Herve’s and my first trip to France together….and the doorbell rang (this is about two hours before I had to settle the dogs, turn on alarms, lock up the house, and catch the plane?)

        The FTD man was there, at 9 a.m…..with a potted hydrangea sent from some florist in Santa Monica (go figure). There was a note from Catherine Deneuve, telling me that she was looking forward to having us at her house outside of Grasse in a few days.

        As you might expect, this was fairly confusing to East-Tennessee born&bred me (despite the fact that I’d pinned her chanel ads to my bulletin board when I was pubescing in the the late 70’s). Herve explained the matter….concluding with “Just remember….we’re not meeting ‘Catherine Deneuve’, the movie-star….you’re meeting Catherine D’Orleac….the actual person….at the house she actually lives in”.

        Oddly enough, I Immedaiately got over being nervous.

        —-david terry

      • No way?! Well, what can I say? I will keep [people] watching until I see *my* French icon, too! Surely, Ines, Catherine, or Marion will show up again eventually, juste pour moi?! :-) Veronique

  • Synthia says:

    What do most of the women wear at brocantes in France? In my area they usually dress in sweats, old shirts and flip flops??!! The reason I inquire….I will be with Sharon on her brocante trip and I am fretting with what to wear! Can you advise? Love love love your blog!

    • Vicki says:

      Most women at brocantes don’t look nearly as stylish as Ines de la Fressange (myself included)… I would take a leaf out of her book… jeans, white blouse and jacket/sweater if necessary… Swap the espadrilles for Converse or flat boots… depending on the season… and perfect… there is your ensemble…
      Have a great time… xv

  • It’s good to know she really is as fabulous as we think.
    Great post, Vicki.

  • Debbie says:

    How fun! Not too long ago I saw a feature on her summer home in Tarascon which puts her in your neighborhood. Love the across the generations appeal of her style and beauty.

  • Victoria says:

    Such a stylish lady. The classic style at the flea market is a perfect weekend outfit. Must get myself a new white shirt.

  • kabayoz says:

    I’ll probably stare too long and embarrassed myself if I’ll ever get a glimpse of that elegant lady at my fleamarket. I’ve always love the way Ines look and how she carries herself. What a great compliment your daughter paid to you and Ms. de la Fressange. She knows that true style and elegance aren’t confined to a certain age group. She knows it when she sees it.

  • Wow! Thanks for sharing. I’m kind of dazzled by Ines and would have been thrilled to have seen her in person. I think her fresh simplicity is beautiful and timeless.

  • Pamela says:

    I admire Ines too. She is the epitome of effortlessly chic! She can wear a Lacoste t-shirt, skinny jeans and her Roger Vivier flats and look fabulous! Your lucky to see her in person.

  • Hi Vicki

    How nice you spotted her shopping. At 5’11” it is difficult to hide.
    Her outfit is so classic. Did she had the shirt tucked into the jeans or did she wrap the belt around the long shirt?

    Have a glorious weekend


  • Style and elegance are timeless. Ines is a wonderful and perfect illustration of it!
    What makes her always great too is that she has a terrific sense of humor, a gorgeous smile, and a sense of confidence. She is the epitome of Parisian elegance !
    Thank you for this delightful post, Vicki !
    Bonne journée :-)))

  • miss b says:

    I have always admired her effortlessly chic style and her Parisian chic book was such a good read. How wonderful to spot her in the market.

  • Jess Flett says:

    Oh how lucky!!! She is incredible. If only…. It would be so nice to have even an ounce of her ‘Inesness’, Jx

  • Luli says:

    I’m reading her style book right now.

  • Leslie says:

    She’s gorgeous .. and I love the blouse casually tucked in the front of the jeans. I believe that women can look gorgeous at any age (without invasive procedures!!) simply by doing little things to enhance their natural beauty. Having a good hair color/cut, healthy skin, a pretty smile is important. It’s interesting as some women seem to try TOO hard and in the process appear over-done or have a “desperate to look young again” look. Less is more.. casual elegance.

    Hope you are enjoying your weekend.


  • Renata says:

    I am sure she is gorgeous! My “little” girl-now 6′ would look fantastic in anything, she is also slim and gorgeous! Wear whatever makes you feel good, is what I think! Thanks for the links!

  • Karen in CT says:

    .. an A+ sighting … I would stop dead in my tracks and not be able to speak … I love her diaries, and pull up a couple when I need a lift. I always suspected she was authentic …. congrats and thanks for the details … Karen in CT

  • Sanne says:

    Sorry, but the tale of the chic French woman, I do not believe anymore. Yes one or another. But: I was for the first time in Paris in the mid-70s. And several times later, as my brother in law has lived in Paris. He was married to a French woman and both had many friends in Paris. The majority of women – all academics – who I met were dressed poorly and, unfortunately, I have to say, not very well maintained. How many buttons, open seams and hems I sewed in Paris for my sister in law, countless. For me chic, well-styled women are in Italy. One Saturday morning in Rome replaces an annual subscription of Vogue.
    Best regards from Vienna

    • Vicki says:

      Italian women are without doubt gorgeous and stylish but many Parisian women are too… I must defend them :) I think there are well put together and not so well put together women everywhere… but when I see someone who really does have it all working… well, I applaud them… because as we all know, it’s not always easy. xv

      • Sanne says:

        Sorry Vicki, you’re absolutely right. When I grew up in the 50/60s, the French woman was a goal, we shall never never reach, everyone told us. But there are gorgeous and beautiful women worldwide. pE Cate Blanchett, Austrialien like you, has played theater in spring in Vienna and she was stunningly beautiful!

        Have a nice weekend, hope it is not too hot

      • Leslie says:

        Great point Vicki. It’s wonderful to see someone making an effort to pull it together.

  • david terry says:

    Oh, Vicki….my most recent tale of “Wait!….that’s a famous movie star!” involved the Oscar-Award-winning actress Sissy Spacek.

    Very early one weekday morning, I took one of my dogs to the rural veterinarian’s office outside of Charlottesville, Virginia. I walked into the tiny waiting room, saw no one at the desk, turned around…..and found myself looking straight at Spacek. She had a cat-carrier on her lap. We were all alone in that small, linoleum-floored room with its four plastic waiting-chairs.

    I’m sure I gaped like an idiot. I knew through the grapevine that she and her husband lived somewhere vaguely outside of town, but I’d never SEEN her (or, at that time, any movie-star whatsoever).
    As I stood there, staring at her, her entire face changed…. her own mouth closed tightly, her posture went rigid, and her eyes widened in an expression that clearly read “Oh…PLEASE don’t put me through this right now!”

    To my credit (for once), I had the presence of mind to shut my mouth, re-arrange my own face into the most neutral expression I could manage, and I simply said “Good morning….is there anyone here?”.

    Everything about her just FLOODED relief, and she, pointing a finger, said “I think there’s a bell on the other side of the desk…”.

    I rang the bell (turns out the receptionist was simply feeding animals out back). Spacek and I chatted about my dog and her sick cat. She was obviously delighted to be sitting next to someone who apparently had no idea whatsoever of who she was.

    That’s one of the few times in my life when I’ve, afterwards, been completely proud of my behavior.

    Level Best as Ever,

    david Terry

  • Karen says:

    Domino magazine March 2009 has a spread on her houses. Boy am I glad I hung on to that one. Her houses are atypical to me.

  • Anita Rivera says:

    Oh, this woman is French Essence in a bottle…..I am 54 and I though I am only 5’4, I think I can try to stand up straight enough to appear taller! ATTITUDE and a good sense of dress NO MATTER WHERE YOU GO will make a statement! Oh how fortunate that you saw her!!! Have another fine day my dear!Anita

  • Dear Vicki,
    Thank you for defending the French women (I am French and I was a long time Parisian before moving to Florida. I totally agree with you: not all French women are stylish and there are other stylish women in other countries and cities – including Italy of course. Yet, honestly speaking, the average French woman often wear a little thing (such as a scarf) that zests up any simple outfit !
    Have a great day :-)

  • Christina says:

    You are so lucky to have the pleasure to run into Ines! It must of been an experience and to witness true French Chic! Thank you for sharing and it is great confirmation on how to dress French Chic. She set an example in her book and from what I understood, it is a uniform to wear on those casual days. I’m surprised that there was no scarf or jewelry? I know it should be simple, but did she have any of those worn when you saw her.

    Your 27 year old daughter admire Ines is a major compliment! It also confirms that no matter what age we are, we can look good, simple and well put-together.

    Thank you so much for sharing!

  • What a lovely shout out about a beautiful french woman.

  • Brenda says:

    That must have been a surprise at such an early morning hour. Although I am not shocked in the least, it is wonderful to know that she is every bit as lovely as she is in the photographs I have seen of her. I have always felt she was a true style icon.
    xoxo, B

  • Pamela says:

    Dear Vicki
    I discovered Ines de la Fressange sometimes shops at the market stall of a women who sells vintage clothes, fabrics and pieces of china, silver etc at the markets in Isle sur la Sorgue and St Remy. I first met the stall holder at Isle sur la Sorgue in June and bought some of her textiles, particularly linens and old lace. She had set them all out so beautifully and gave really helpful suggestions for things I could make from them. We enjoyed her stall so much and chatting to her that my French friend took a picture of me with this lady. Then she showed me her album of pictures of well known people people who have bought things from her: there was a lovely photo of her with Ines de la Fressange, taken the previous month, Ines was holding the dress she’d bought from her. She looked wonderful in the photo, but it would have been great to have seen her in person.

    My closest brush with real celebrities was many years ago in London when we discovered our seats were next to Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev in a theatre where Maggie Smith was playing the lead in a Restoration comedy. Maggie as usual was brilliant and very funny but it was hard to give her our full attention. Though like David we didn’t trouble either of the ballet stars with our recognition either. Best wishes, Pamela

    • david terry says:

      Oh, Pamela…..I forgot… of my other, MANY-MANY-MANY brushes with THE MAJOR STARS occurred when I (having been given tickets by a director friend) went to the production of “Angels in America” that was being filmed, that night and because it had just won the Pulitzer Prize, for the archives of the Library of Congress.

      About five minutes into sitting down in that cramped, old-fashioned theatre in New York…I noticed the well-dressed, quite pretty, latter middle-aged woman who was sitting right next to me (basically, smashing her hips and elbows next to mine). I couldn’t for-the-world figure out why I “KNEW” this woman, but I tried not to stare too closely, at a distance of about a foot.

      Around the middle of the performance, I looked again….recognized the chin-line…..and I realized “Oh S**T!…It’s Michael Learned….the mother from ‘The Waltons’…” (which was my very-most-ever favorite television show when I was a late 1970’s teenager.

      She wasn’t, of course, wearing a 1930’s, Depression-era cotton housedress(as she did in that famous TV show for eight and more years), nor was her hair pulled back in a coal-miner’s wife’s bun…..but it was HER.

      I’ll admit….I was less self-conscious in my late twenties, and I simply (during intermission) turned to her and said “I’m sorry to bother you….but you’re Michael Learned, aren’t you? I’m sorry…..but I loved that show!…at least I didn’t ask if you’re ‘Ma Walton’…”.

      She agreed that she was always pleased when someone had taken the trouble to learn her actual name, rather than just that of a character she’d once played on a popular television show.

      Well, enough star-gazing and star-searching for me…..I have to go chop cabbage….tonight, we’re having stuffed cabbage, from Richard Olney’s “Provence: The Beautiful Cookbook” (a wincingly silly title….but the book is the best I know of concerning Provencal cooking).

      Level Best as Ever,

      David Terry

      • Pamela says:

        Dear David
        Had a similar experience of feeling I “knew” someone too. Over ten years ago my husband and I were about to leave on a holiday in the US. We walked into the Business/ First Class lounge of our national capital’s airport. Because airline rush hour was over, there was almost no-one there. I was walking a little ahead of my husband and looking around for somewhere to sit while waiting for our flight to Sydney to connect with our flight to LA. Suddenly I saw a very familiar face. At just the same instant the man saw me looking at him in what appeared to be recognition and our eyes locked, he smiled at me and I smiled back. So he jumped to his feet and began walking towards us (maybe he thought he should have known us – he’d probably met so many people during his visit) and just at that instant I realised I didn’t know him at all but had seen him very many times on the television news. It was Xanana Gusmao who later went on to become the first President of East Timor. He was such a nice polite man: we walked towards each other and shook hands and I introduced my husband. Then I told him how much I admired his work for his country and wished him well for the future and great success. He received our good wishes with such warmth and politeness. I realised that of course he must have been on an official visit to Canberra at the invitation of our government. His escort had obviously gone missing temporarily – suddenly a man hurried over having just noticed us conversing with Xanana and took him away. It was a strange experience but very pleasant too. Of course, if I had twigged straight away who he was I would never have created a situation where he jumped up to shake hands.

        Used to enjoy the Waltons too, many years ago. Best wishes, Pamela

  • Jennifer says:

    I just may have to put your choice of white blouse in my Net-a-porter shopping bag! Great find, thank you. I love that she wore it tucked into the front of her jeans, and loose in the back…a favorite way of mine too. Ines oozes chic and is a terrific inspiration.
    My Brocante attire in Bordeaux this spring was slightly different. Jeans tucked into knee high rain boots, warm sweater, rain coat with hood, warm hat and gloves. It was freezing cold the weeks I was there and rained almost every day.
    Wish I was there now and hope it stays warm for my trip back this fall!

  • La Contessa says:

    BEAUTIFUL!YOU lucky two to see her up close!THANKS FOR THE REPORT!She must be wearing our YSL serum too dont you think?Is she still doing her own line of clothing?I havenot read anything about her in a long time…….I’m 5’11” but NOT skinny anymore and almost her age…..she doesnot look 55!!!!!!!!!!

  • kimberly says:

    I do hope you know how much I adore posts such as this. They truly inspire me- especially that you shared what it was that you felt gave her that effortless chic appearance. Merci once again mon amie,

  • mary says:

    Ok…….I’m on the hunt for the perfect silk shirt. Ines has been an idol of mine for many many moons.
    Thanks for the shopping tips.

  • Angela says:

    ….and she buys her belts at an equestrian shop in Tarascon called T. Rodeo les Amphores, she lives up the road and likes to shop ‘local’. A very ‘real’ celebrity!

  • she is truly a beautiful women. She is always smiling and glowing.

  • Catherine says:

    Nobody does it better than Ines…chic, elegant, serene…and the most beautiful smile…oh, how I would have loved to have seen her…did you talk to her, Vicki?
    What a FABULOUS Sunday!

  • Trish Murphy says:

    It must have been so exciting to see Ines at the markets.I think that she is just so stunning and effortlessly chic. I have her book on order at present I am looking forward to reading it.I wore a new white Cotten shirt to lunch yesterday will have to hunt for the silk one! Ines was probably thinking thats the Vicki Archer lady wow she is at the markets looking fabulous!!!x Trish

  • She epitomizes French Chic…
    I love her little diaries on the Roger Vivier website.
    How fortunate for you and your daughter to see her in person!

  • Margaret says:

    I so agree, Vicki, Ines is gorgeous, stylish and oh so simple. I have just come back from France, and to me French woman are the optimum of style and understated simplicity. Tres chic at any age.

  • Tammy says:

    Hi Vicki,

    I must confess my ignorance, I had no idea who Ines is. I do now, and she is beautiful. Naturally.

    On another matter, please see my link to your blog on my latest French inspired post.

    Take care, Tammy

  • Irina says:

    It really is in the details, isn’t it? So much care and thought goes into every piece…the resulting look is of course chic and effortless…she is timeless.
    How fun for you and your dear daughter!
    (Can’t believe she’s 55!) This is what 55 should look like! :)
    Have a lovely week, dear Vicki!
    – Irina

  • Gina says:

    she looks sweet too ..and happy..that always helps!

  • How fun to see Ines in person! Thanks for the Monday morning inspiration. Her most recent book was terrific. I’m resolving to eat a salad everyday for lunch this week after seeing how slim she is! Also, I’d love to chop off my hair and have it cut like Ines’ but afraid the style will look frumpy on me vs. chic on Ines. She doesn’t look like a woman that’s a slave to the blow dryer {SIGH}!


  • Have to agree she has great style and even more admirably…has truly embraced the adage of growing old gracefully. She doens’t look pinched and perfect but rather beautifully well taken care of not someone who is 50 trying to look 25. ( a big pet peeve of mine and decidedly a very “American” way of looking at age).

    I can only hope to adapt her attitude and effortless style when I get to be her ago. Loved your encounter with your daughter…..

  • Ola says:

    FRom what you have described it sounds that she looked perfectly at the market, that means – chic!

  • classiq says:

    After reading this I like her even more. She is an inspiring woman, the perfect example that style is ageless.

  • Odyssey Home says:

    Details much all the difference. Lucky you – I’d love to run across the beautiful Ines de la Fressange! She really is the epitome of modern chic and casual elegance.

  • Simone says:

    I am such a fan of hers….altho who isn’t?! How wonderful to see her close up – and for both of you to admire & be inspired by her, wonderful!! Xx

  • Melody says:

    I love Ines! She just gets better and better. So beautiful!

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