BIRTHDAY PARTY: Inès de la Fressange celebrated the first anniversary of her Paris store on Saturday with in-store attractions including a photobooth, manicure station, cotton candy and custom-embroidered bracelets.
The model, Roger Vivier brand ambassador and face of L’Oréal Paris was on the shop floor greeting friends and customers, posing for selfies and signing copies of her guide “Parisian Chic.”
“The fact that we’re here makes me proud, and it’s gone incredibly fast because there are always projects and meetings. When you get to know people and you’re having fun, time flies,” said de la Fressange, wearing a denim jumpsuit with her first name embroidered on the breast pocket, from her collaboration with French brand Soeur.
She’s been extra busy of late. In addition to opening a shop-in-shop at the Paris flagship of French department store chain Printemps in February, de la Fressange will propose a series of looks for sale on Yoox.com in September.
The brand, which is available in 15 specialty stores, including Colette in Paris and The Webster in Miami and Houston, is expected to expand its domestic and international presence next year. Then there is her ongoing collaboration with Japanese fast-fashion giant Uniqlo, which is entering its sixth season.
“It’s a happy marriage,” de la Fressange said. “I get asked all the time about the spirit of the Parisian woman, and I think that’s it – a lack of snobbery. Things don’t have to be branded or incredibly expensive. It’s good to mix it up.”
Her next collaboration is in the same spirit: de la Fressange is teaming up with French brand Bensimon on two exclusive versions of its popular canvas sneakers, due to hit stores in late June.
Fabrice Boé, chief executive officer of Inès de la Fressange Paris, which he relaunched in 2013 with a group of investors, said the Paris store posted sales of close to 2 million euros, or $2.2 million, during its first 12 months, in line with forecasts. All dollar rates are calculated at average exchange for the period.
“We should be profitable from the first year and we were on track to do significantly better until the terrorist attacks unfortunately hit,” he said, referring to the Nov. 13 incidents that killed 100 people.
Despite this setback, the company continues to expand. It recently signed licenses with furnishing fabric and wallpaper firm Pierre Frey and glove manufacturer Georges Morand.
Further licenses for luggage and tableware are in the works, and Boé is looking for a new eyewear licensee following the closure of Albin Paget, its previous partner. He is also interested in developing perfumes and cosmetics.
De la Fressange, whose Left Bank store houses her products alongside an assortment of goods ranging from olive oil to household linens, is already onto the next thing. Her latest impulse buy is jewelry by Pascale Monvoisin, whose delicate bangles she sported on one wrist.
“We might do something together. I don’t think you should plan things too coldly in fashion because it has to happen spontaneously and enthusiastically, and I’m open to everything. If tomorrow Smeg asked me to work on a refrigerator, I would be thrilled,” she said with a laugh.