Special Events & Red Carpets

Key Fashion Moment : 1983 - Inès de la Fressange becomes the exclusive face of the Chanel house

In 1983, Inès de la Fressange is the first great model to sign an exclusivity contract with the Chanel house. Featuring an interview with Inès de la Fressange. Inès de la Fressange began her career in the seventies at the age of 17. In 1983, she was chosen by Karl Lagerfeld to become not only the face but also the muse and ambassador of the Chanel house.

She was the first model to sign an exclusivity contract with a big LABEL, where she insisted upon her own style: a unique walk and relaxed attitude on the podiums, never hesitating to smile and talk to the guests… the embodiment of the Parisienne for the whole world stems from these ardent Chanel years.

Interview:
Inès de la Fressange :
I was lucky to be able to work at Chanel, with Karl Lagerfeld who had, let’s say, dusted off Chanel and actually enhanced and enriched the house, and INVENTED a kind of new profession, where I was the model and the image.

I think Karl’s idea was to show that we could wear Chanel in the 80s and that it was very contemporary, that it was for women, not models. So my role was to be more of a person than a model, and that let me have all sorts of attitudes, and we understood that I was a bit out of context. More over I was making several appearances, I had around twenty pieces of clothing to wear, there was a specific hairdresser, and a specific makeup, I had around a minute to get changed, to show that I was actually almost the ideal client, more than a model.

At the studio I was allowed to suggest things, wants, desires, like a sort of spoilt child. I got them, Karl designed them, just like that… In fact we INVENTED a new profession. People said that I was a muse but I wasn’t really a muse I was an amusement, Karl really didn’t need inspiration but he used to say that you should always think about women, and that he dressed women but he himself wasn’t one and so it was good to have a kind of accomplice.

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