UNIQLO x Ines de La Fressange: A French Holiday
As most French icons go – the Eiffel Tower, the ubiquitous croissant, elegance goes hand-in-hand with simplicity.
Let me introduce myself: I have no strictly-built sense when it comes to dressing up –to me, it’s merely one part of the day. I have my mind set somewhere else when getting dressed: the commute, the work ahead, or why I bothered to wake up at all. The things I put together would be the things I had mindlessly grabbed from the closet, in the dark, blanketed in a dizzy stupor. With or without a hangover, my resulting look would be the same: comfortable, stress-free and sane. The simplicity says something about me: I am a good guy, not likely to throw a punch, and pragmatic. Maybe even a great hugger and good listener, but we’d have to be a lot closer than this to know that.
I got tasked to cover a UNIQLO event and immediately got a little weak in the knees. Of course, I agreed (my exact words came with F-bombs in all caps, punctuated with about a hundred exclamation points). The Japanese lifestyle brand is premiering its latest collection, its second collaboration with Ines de la Fressange, the French beauty whose face served as the inspiration for the bust of Marianne, the national emblem of the French Republic.
I arrived early at the Megamall store and after the initial geographical disorientation (I usually go to the SM North EDSA store) I gathered my head and went zigzagging along the racks and the mannequins, going from the first floor to the third. To my slight consternation, the collection is exclusively for women. I’m a guy. But I know UNIQLO, ergo I can put in my two cents and it would be just as good as a woman’s.
The French-ness is hit right on the head, the mallet handled by the gentle Ines de la Fressange. The frills and folds of every skirt shout ‘chic but not uptight’, and the structured shoulders and trims round out the playfulness of the collection. Asking if you should layer or not, there’s really no point: any dress could be worn as a summery day ensemble; and put on a trenchcoat and you’re on your way to your meeting. Or just wear the trenchcoat over a shirt. The thing is, the whole collection is versatile, and this means that there are many separate pieces to mix and match, the dynamic pieces agreeing with the simpler tones. I consulted with my stylish friend to help putting into words my monosyllabic articulations (‘COOL!’, ‘WOW!’, ‘NIIIICE!’) and I hope I come off as fashion-eloquent somehow.
More than the layering, what makes this sophomore Ines de la Fressange collaboration more appropriate for the season is the warm color palette, seeming to offset the dimmer days heralding the holidays. The dotty (pardon my limited male fashion vocabulary) flower prints remind one of spring. To be a bit objective, the collection pays attention to the height of the waist, the neckline and overall fit. As with any UNIQLO collection, F/W ’14 exudes playfulness, ease and comfort, which is the thing I like best about the brand, which explains its dominion over my closet space.
Ines de la Fressange says it best: “I love things that are unadorned, genuine, and comfortable to wear”. I couldn’t agree more, and I hope the women forgive me for moseying around in their territory.