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Parisian Chic: A Style Guide by Ines de la Fressange

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Parisian Chic: A Style Guide by Ines de la Fressange

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Celebrity model Inès de la Fressange shares the well-kept secrets of how Parisian women maintain effortless glamour and a timeless allure. Inès de la Fressange—France’s icon of chic—shares her personal tips for living with style and charm, gleaned from decades in the fashion industry.

She offers specific pointers on how to dress like a Parisian, including how to mix affordable basics with high-fashion touches, and how to accessorize. Her step-by-step do’s and don’ts are accompanied by fashion photography, and the book is personalized with her charming drawings. Inès also shares how to bring Parisian chic into your home, and how to insert your signature style into any space—even the office.

The ultrachic volume is wrapped with a three-quarter-height removable jacket and features offset aquarelle paper and a ribbon page marker. Complete with her favorite addresses for finding the ultimate fashion and decorating items, this is a must-have for any woman who wants to add a touch of Paris to her own style.
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Parisian Chic: A Style Guide by Ines de la Fressange

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3 comments on “Parisian Chic: A Style Guide by Ines de la Fressange

  1. Eibhinn on said:
    405 of 414 people found the following review helpful:
    3.0 out of 5 stars
    Deceptively described – more shopping and travel guide than fashion book., April 15, 2011
    By 
    Eibhinn (Canada) –

    This review is from: Parisian Chic: A Style Guide by Ines de la Fressange (Paperback)

    I bought this based on the reviews, product description, and product video here on Amazon, and was very surprised when I actually received the product. Everything suggests that this is a guide to dressing like a Parisian. For the most part, it is not. Here’s why

    1. My most important point is that most of this book is not a guide to fashion or style, it’s a guide to shopping and travelling in Paris. I did a breakdown, of the 239 pages in the book (many of which are blank, or contain very little text and big cute drawings) 77 pages is comprised of shopping guides (for clothing, housewares, children’s goods, almost exclusively shops in Paris, although many have websites), and 55 pages is an idiosyncratic travel guide, listing hotels, restaurants, and some museums and other tourist stops. There is a 16 page guide to home decor and entertaining, 14 pages of beauty tips, leaving only 62 pages discussing fashion and clothing.

    2. The fact that only 25% of the pages address the apparent topic of the book wouldn’t bother me if those 62 pages provided some really keen observations and solid advice, but the whole thing is very glib and basic. Almost all of the information can be found in nearly any modern style guide. I was hoping for some advice on composition – putting clothes together and accessorizing well – which seems to be the real skill of French dressers. The closest I got was the “mix high and low” chestnut, and advice to dress simply and not be too matchy matchy. So essentially a basic description of what French style is, not how to achieve it. Most of the other advice was of the truly revelatory “you must own a trench and an LBD” variety. Um… thanks.

    3. Like many guides to dressing, eating, whatever like the French do, the text is annoyingly reductive. “All Parisians” do this, “all Parisian women” do that… as the author conflates her own experience with every other French woman’s. The author is a former supermodel, and at one point claims that all Parisian women are either a size 2 or 4 (they are not). I offer this point as a caution for two reasons. First, this book offers absolutely no advice particular to the challenges women above size 4 might have in dressing well, and many of the suggestions (like shop in the menswear or children’s department) are likely inadvisable to the bulk of women. Second, please understand that there is more variety to stylish French dressing than is presented here. The “voice” of the book is pure Ines – which is interesting in its own regard, but more idiosyncratic than she lets on. The only other woman’s style or experience discussed is of her mini-me daughter.

    4. Many reviewers describe the book as being “like a Moleskin journal.” That may be true of the French/European version, but I would describe the North American publication as “sort of looking like a Moleskin journal.” It is a fair bit larger, and much thicker, and has a soft, flimsy cover, and matte, slightly rough paperstock inside. The paper has a nice feel, but gives the colour photographs inside a slightly dark look. That’s okay, though, since the vast majority of the pictures are silly illustrations and pictures of the inside of boutiques, spas and hotels and are not intended to be instructive in any way.

    Overall, Ines de la Fressange seems like a fun enough lady, and the tone of the book is conversational and easy to read. Unfortunately as a fashion guide the book leaves much to be desired. The major advice seems to be, “to dress like a Parisian, buy all your clothes from shops in Paris.” Which I probably could have figured out on my own.

    Ultimately, the greatest value of this book is as a guide for fashionable people travelling to Paris to go shopping. Even as a travel guide it has its limitations as it lacks any of the basic information one usually requires, like maps or guides to basic transportation. Unfortunately, like any travel guide – especially one discussing fashionable boutiques and with a section sharing the hottest and trendiest current restaurants – I think the practical lifespan on the book is very limited. Guides like Lonely Planet are updated every year for a reason. Since I’m not currently planning to return to Paris within the next couple of years, I fear this book will be of little use to me even as an eventual tourist.

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  2. J. Bucar on said:
    98 of 101 people found the following review helpful:
    2.0 out of 5 stars
    Much ado about nothing, April 12, 2011
    By 
    J. Bucar (OOB, ME) –
    (REAL NAME)
      

    Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
    This review is from: Parisian Chic: A Style Guide by Ines de la Fressange (Paperback)

    I anxiously awaited this book. I knew of Ines and and as an ardent Francophile (Francomaniac by my friends), I couldn’t wait for this book to appear. What a disappointment. She gives no meaningful advice or insights into her chicness, beauty or style. The photos are all of her daughter.Is it meant to be for a 20 year old? Ines missed a good opportunity to really define the Parisienne and her je ne sais quoi. Instead, the book is filled with generalities. It repeats itself far too much. How many times do we read that it’s so chic to push your sleeves up 3/4 or to tie one’s belt rather than buckle it (yeah, right; like that looks “chic” on anyone other than a 13 year old Twiggy). I was so disappointed that she did not write a book that shows the progression of French chic from young women to the woman of a “certain age.” She’s in her 50s. How great it would have been had she shown how she was able to become the style maven and keep that allure well into her 50s. The “advice” on clothing is meaingless. It’s not really advice either. The section on beauty is okay but again, the most substantive advice she gave in this section is don’t use soap. No big surprise there. Why not say what her beauty routine is or discuss the “principles” of sound skin care, no matter what the age ? It was such a disappointment to say the least. I checked out the on line links she gave for shopping (my trips to Paris, while frequent, do not include for the most part shopping at those addresses). The on line sites where valid (and many were not) would mean shelling out $478 for a skirt. Not too many of us are planning on that kind of budget. The book (physical book) itself is aesthetically attractive. The sketches, even the neat little ribbon book mark, make the book itself a delight to hold in your hand. But this is surely an example of not judging a book by its cover. The interior is banale, superficial and basically “nul” as we say. A sore disappointment.

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  3. Jesse Kornbluth "Head Butler" on said:
    168 of 183 people found the following review helpful:
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    like a visit with a chic Parisian who actually cares about you, April 6, 2011
    By 
    Jesse Kornbluth “Head Butler” (New York) –
    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)
      
    (REAL NAME)
      

    This review is from: Parisian Chic: A Style Guide by Ines de la Fressange (Paperback)

    The book is dedicated “to my new best friend” and then there’s a dotted line for you to fill in.

    Cringe-worthy?

    Yes, if the author of a book intended to get you up to speed on Parisian style was just any old supermodel.

    But Inès Marie Lætitia Églantine Isabelle de Seignard de La Fressange — let’s call her Inès — is not like the others. Despite her impeccable breeding (she’s a distant heiress to the Lazard banking billions) and her privileged upbringing, she’s astonishingly down-to-earth, smart and friendly, with a goofy good cheer that suggests a refusal to take herself very seriously. Proof: at 53, she walked the runway for Lagerfeld, never having had plastic surgery or even Botox.

    Interesting story there. In the `80s, Inès was the first model to have an exclusive contract — with Lagerfeld. A few years later, she was asked to be the image of Marianne, the native beauty who is the symbol of the French Republic. Lagerfeld ended their relationship, saying, “I do not dress up historic monuments.” Inès went on to start her own company and consult for Roger Vivier. But it wasn’t until she was named the chicest woman in France by the readers of Le Figaro and became the French face of L’Oreal that Lagerfeld had to have her back.

    “Parisian Chic: A Style Guide” is like a visit with a friendly, clear-eyed woman you trust immediately. It’s the best kind of guide book — you not only get information, you get it in context. That is, you learn quite a lot about the author and how she came to her opinions:”In the magazines we see the latest fashion, on gorgeous girls, but in my book I just wanted to help the busy woman — a woman who is not thin, and not that fat, but in a hurry, in a hurry, in a hurry! Because we are all a lot like this — too much tummy, not enough time.”

    At 230 pages, published in nicely bound soft cover, with whimsical illustrations and terrific photographs, her book is the best guide to personal style — and to Paris — I’ve ever seen. If I were a woman and had any relationship to Paris, I’d memorize it.

    Shall we take the tour?

    Part I is “How to Dress Like a Parisian.” She serves up one absolute after another. No complete outfits. Don’t look “rich.” Wear two scarves. Make sure you own the following: a man’s blazer, a trench coat, a navy sweater, a tank top, a little black dress, jeans and a leather jacket. And Converse sneakers. And flats:”Some people think that shoes are ladders. No man is going to say, ‘I would love you so much more if you were 10cm taller.’ Women are suffering, you know. Elegance is about feeling nice, how can you feel nice when you have shoes that are like a prosthesis?”

    What to buy, what to wear, when to wear it: this is the first third of the book. (The most important thing goes unsaid — you don’t follow fashion slavishly. You’re better than that. You have the confidence to believe you’re attractive to men, and dress to please yourself. But you know all that, right?) Then it’s on to shopping. (“I love buying new things because I like to be a stranger to them.”) Inès offers an excellent guide to not-obvious Paris shops — and their online stores. She shares her beauty regime. (“Wear makeup every day, even on weekends. Your family wants to see you at your best, too!”)

    And then Inès pulls the curtain wide open and devotes half the book to her own life: “Chez Moi.” Keep it simple. Display art by children. And then another section on shopping, this time for the home. A short list of museums, bookstores — and a public restroom you’d never find on your own. Manicurists. Just a dozen restaurants. Gourmet-to-go shops. Six hotels.

    Overall, “Parisian Chic” is like those memos you get from well-traveled friends. Everything you need to know. And not one thing extra.

    I’ll be pushing this book on Paris-bound friends — and women in danger of dressing too young, or too trendy, or just too too — for years.

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