Fans of gently priced Gallic style should mark their calendars for St. Patrick's Day, one week from Monday. That's when the first two installments of Uniqlo's collaboration with French model, designer and all-around fabulous person Inès de la Fressange hits stores.
While last Spring the chain gave us an epic assortment of men's polo shirts by Michael Bastian, this year Uniqlo has turned to its lady customers with a more well rounded capsule collection of easy sportswear including accessories and plenty of silk scarves. Now previewing online, the pieces are almost exceedingly simple, but with deceptively subtle details like a sneaky red placket on a denim shirt's cuffs, or contrasting stitching on a random buttonhole. It's the way you put them together that creates that jaunty, French flair. For those who need a bit of guidance in putting together the pieces, there are lots of images of the willowy Inès herself for style inspiration. The line is divided into four groups. The first two, Petite Parisienne and Bleu, Blanc Parisienne (both pictured above) will both arrive as Fifth Avenue is filled with green-clad revelers and parade-goers, so you might focus on the 34th Street or SoHo stores that day. The third, Souffle de Parisienne is slated for late April, and, finally, Note Parisienne will be in stock in late May.
The collaboration also marks the reunion of de la Fressange with her eponymous label in advance of a full relaunch with luxury products in the near future. Her label was created shortly after her exclusive contract with Chanel ended during the 1990s, but, as is so often the case, changing ownership and disagreements separated her from the brand, which, it turned out, wasn't worth much withiout its famous frontwoman. That is all behind her now, so if all goes well, there will be more Inès to come, it will just be a little bit more expensive.