Talented, charming, beautiful, clever, and bursting with joie de vivre, Inès de la Fressange possesses more than her fair share of virtues. She also happens to be a magnificent lunch date, the impresario of her own eponymous brand, a global ambassador for Roger Vivier, and the woman who co-wrote the book(s) on French style. (The first one is called Parisian Chic: A Style Guide.) Ever since de la Fressange emerged on the fashion scene as a teenager, she’s been at the center of things. Nicknamed “the talking mannequin,” due to her vivacious and loquacious personality, she quickly became one of the most in-demand models in the world, working extensively with Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel. (She even famously lent her likeness to the bust of the Marianne, the international symbol of the French Republic.) Now, in addition to masterminding her collection and globe-trotting in the name of Roger Vivier, de la Fressange also publishes a weekly digital newsletter, La Lettre d’Inès, in French and English. Naturally, she has a very firm grasp on the good life. —Ashley Baker
Portrait of a Lady
Airport: When I was a child, my father would take my brother and me on tours of the countryside in his tiny Jodel plane. When we were starving, he would choose a place to land. I can’t remember the name of the greatest one, but they did serve chicken with green peas that was just perfection!
App: When I didn’t know the name of a flower, I would send a picture of it to Christian Louboutin, and he would tell me what it was. Now there’s an app!
Bag: I have the most beautiful bags from Roger Vivier, but sometimes a simple basket is better. Maybe this is the definition of Parisian style. Is that a snobby thing to say?
Bike: I loved the small Harley-Davidson that they don’t make anymore. Pity.
Birthday gift: Once, I received a tree. An ideal present—I still have it, and it’s still growing …
Boyfriend: If I don’t write “Denis Olivennes,” he won’t talk to me for five days!
Car: I would love a vintage car, but with all the modern things like A.B.S. brakes, airbags, air-conditioning …
Couple: Funny—after a few years, people hate what initially seduced them. To make a perfect couple, one has to listen to the music he was listening to at the beginning of the romance.
Diet: I eat when I’m hungry, and I eat slowly.
Dress: If I wear a dress, I look like a lamp, but sometimes I have to wear one. I love the ones designed by Maison Rabih Kayrouz. I look like a nice lamp in them!
Enemy: I hate my hair—it’s too thin. Maybe someday I’ll find the right product. Wishful thinking …
Hotel: The Umaid Bhawan, in Jodhpur, has the best service in the world. When you sit by the pool, someone arrives and gives you a towel and cushion for your neck, without having to ask. Sometimes, they even bring a gift, like a pareu.
Jacket: I am always searching for the best one. Maybe that’s the definition of being a designer.
Nonfiction book: Autobiography of a Yogi, by Paramahansa Yogananda.
Pants: In Los Angeles, I found pants at a military-surplus store. I knew they were perfect, and I bought them without trying them on. I guess I will try to copy them in a future collection. But hush!
Shoes: I am always underdressed. I don’t have evening clothes, but, fortunately, I have gorgeous Vivier shoes with brass buckles that save the look each time.
Pen: I always write with an ink pen and blotter from the brand Kaweco. People are surprised, but my checks look nicer!
Pet: I have two dogs. One is a bichon—tiny and white, very smart—and the other one is a golden retriever. Gorgeous, but quite stupid. Everyone admires the golden retriever …
President: A president without environmental consciousness is dangerous. In France, there is a brand of Camembert named President. Maybe because it’s bound to melt!
Theme song to your life: “Why Worry.” I love the version by Art Garfunkel.
Vacation philosophy: I think we should have more vacation than work. Guess what—I’m French!