French model, designer, businesswoman and author Inès de la Fressange has been a paragon of Parisian style since the 1970s, when she was dubbed ‘the talking mannequin’ thanks to her inclination to give forthright, feminist opinions to the press.
Now 61, she continues to run her eponymous fashion brand and write a popular weekly email newsletter, as well as being Roger Vivier’s global ambassador. A book published this month, titled Maison: Parisian Chic at Home (£30, Flammarion) sees de la Fressange visit 15 stylish homes and their owners in the French capital, along with co-author Marin Montagut. lalettredines.com
My all-time favourite piece of music is difficult to choose – it’d be easier to ask me if I prefer my mother or my father! My taste in music varies wildly depending on where I am, so I listen to everything from Ed Sheeran to Maria Callas, Mozart to the Rolling Stones. But since you’ve asked nicely, I’ll answer: That’s How Strong My Love Is by Otis Redding.
I’m currently listening to I Believe by Alex Hepburn. I think she’s the new Janis Joplin.
The books that have influenced me are those written by the Dalai Lama, and Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda. I’m very interested in Buddhism, and these books have changed my way of seeing life and people.
At the moment, I’m reading a classic that I have never read before: The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. It’s a big book, but I can’t stop devouring it – it’s like a drug!
A quote I particularly like is ‘At this precise moment, everything is fine’. Often, we all forget to stop and appreciate the present, so repeating this can transform your life.
My favourite museum is the Musée Rodin in Paris – I would actually like to live in it. When my daughters were tiny and it was a sunny day, I used to take them to visit its garden. The Kiss is probably Rodin’s most famous sculpture, but I love all of his work.
The last exhibition I saw was a showcase of the French-Russian painter Nicolas de Staël’s landscapes at the Caumont Centre d’Art in Aix-en-Provence. When an exhibition is this extraordinary, it sparks the desire to go and make things yourself.
If I won the lottery, the work of art I’d buy would be a painting by Jean-Baptiste Sécheret – he’s a contemporary artist I’ve just discovered and I adore his work. Some Delacroix drawings, a Matisse painting and a piece by Basquiat would also look perfect in my home!
I collect baskets. It’s actually become a bit of an addiction. I cannot resist buying them.
I’d start a free day in London by eating scones at my hotel (Brown’s). After that, I’d buy fudge at Fortnum & Mason, have lunch with Bella Freud, pick up a lotion from gentlemen’s barbershop Truefitt & Hill, order a suit at Anderson & Sheppard on Savile Row, then go to the V&A and the Tate.
My favourite place in the world is Jaipur in India. I like to go to the Gem Palace jewellery shop to visit my friend [jewellery designer] Marie-Hélène de Taillac, sit by the pool and walk through the bazaar. I’m always just so happy to be there.
Home is the happiness created by the sum of tiny details. The way I decorate changes according to time and place. I want to feel as if I’m on holiday the moment I come home.
This article first appeared in ELLE Decoration November 2018
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