So we’re kicking off Autumn 2017 with my favourite post of the season – the launch of Inès de La Fressange at Uniqlo AW17. It is live now in the UK and launches at 9pm ET in the US (although be prepared – it launched an hour earlier than advertised in the UK). I think everybody who reads Midlifechic knows that Inès is my ultimate style icon. Other than Helen Mirren, I don’t think there is anyone like her in terms of sassy, insouciant style. She has so much sparkle that every time I see her, I want to be French and live her life – even though I’m perfectly happy with mine.
As ever for me, the amalgamation of classic French chic with Uniqlo’s affordable quality is just about everything I could wish for in one collection… if only they stocked it year round with stores in every UK city. However that is not the case and, as we know, most of the collection will be sold out by the end of the day so we need to crack on.
I feel very lucky to have been sent a few pieces to show you in advance. The difference that I have noticed about this collection is that the quality is twice as good as it was before – and it was already great. The clothes appear very simple at first but the fabrics, the cut and the attention to detail set it apart from anything else that you can buy at this price point – they are certainly giving brands like Boden a dig in the ribs. So, let me talk you through the pieces I was sent to try.
Inès de La Fressange at Uniqlo AW17 – the dress
First of all the wrap dress which comes in Uniqlo’s drapey, silk touch fabric. I really like the simple wrap style which will flatter more body shapes than last year’s looser cut. It has a collared neckline that is deep enough to be sexy but also secure so that you don’t have to worry about constantly adjusting it.
Inès de La Fressange at Uniqlo silk touch wrap dress; (shoes and bag past season)
The wrap at the front enables you to move easily and yet the silhouette from behind is close to the body and slimming. I’m wearing a medium, it’s true to size.
It fastens with a self-tie belt but I added this lovely wide leather belt in this season’s oxblood for emphasis. The belt is a great buy – I’ll be wearing it with blazers and coats as well as midi skirts to cinch my waist.
There is plenty of fabric in the wrap so you don’t need to worry about the occasional gust of wind – and it has deep pockets which is something I think most of us love in a dress. Polka dots are going to be strong this season and the dress is available in the small spot that I’m wearing here or a larger spot, as well as a black and white check and plain black.
Inès de La Fressange at Uniqlo silk touch wrap dress, vintage wide belt
Inès de La Fressange at Uniqlo AW17 – the coat
Moving on to coats – the Inès Chester has always been one of my favourite pieces from the collection. Until now though, the fabric has never quite lived up to the cut – but this season it has changed. It has always had a decent wool content but now it is softer and more felted.
It’s an absolutely timeless coat that will never date. The advantage of the slightly longer length this year is that you can wear it with classic slim fit jeans or trousers as well as knee length dresses. It is available in navy and dark grey and I’m wearing a medium which is true to size.
I’m hoping that this will give you an idea of the detail: note the iconic Inès red stitching on the occasional buttonhole. The quality of the running stitch around the lapels makes me think of Jaeger coats. You can also get a feel for the depth of the pile here.
Even the collar has red on the reverse – a chic little touch for blustery days.
Inès de La Fressange at Uniqlo AW17 – shirting
Shirting next and they have included quite a few favourites in this season’s range including this pintucked blouse which I’ve worn a lot since buying it last year (in a medium). I have my eye on this soft blue Oxford frill shirt – unfortunately I couldn’t get a sample to show you. That particular shade of blue is key for the coming season and I think it will look great with jeans.
Inès pintucked front blouse, Inès wool blended trousers; ruffle shoes
Inès de La Fressange at Uniqlo AW17 – trousers
The wool blended trousers are a higher rise than last season which makes them much easier to wear. They have a sharp crease, a lovely felted texture, a chic turn up – and, astoundingly, they are fully lined – for £39.90! They are true to size and such a classic, iconic core wardrobe piece that you’d be mad to miss them.
I wanted to review the jeans but Uniqlo just couldn’t get a sample to me in time. Nobody does dark indigo jeans as well as Uniqlo (they call it navy). I’m really hoping that they will be cut as high as the trousers this season (just below the navel). If they are, I’ll be buying a dark indigo slim ankle length pair.
Inès de La Fressange at Uniqlo AW17 – cashmere
Here I’ve added a simple cashmere jumper. As you can see, the Inès shade of navy is the soft ‘navy peony’ that I was talking about in Friday’s post – much more flattering than dark navy. It comes in a rainbow of other colours. I sized up to a large on this jumper because cashmere, in my opinion, is always better when it is loose and luxurious.
Inès de La Fressange at Uniqlo cashmere jumper; Inès pintucked front blouse, Inès wool blended trousers; ruffle shoes
I’m hoping that you can see the sweatshirt detailing at the neckline here. I like the fact that it is a loose crew neckline so that it doesn’t shorten your neck and make your face look round as crews often do. (If you’re wondering why I was holding onto my head in these last few photos, it’s because the wind was tunnelling a really strange up-draught).
Inès de La Fressange at Uniqlo cashmere jumper; Inès pintucked front blouse
And that brings us on to the last piece from me – another new favourite, the cashmere cape. It’s so much nicer than a poncho with its curved hem which is tipped in black. It’s a perfect layering piece for the next few months, I’ll just add extra jumpers underneath it as I go along.
Inès de La Fressange at Uniqlo cashmere cape; Inès pintucked front blouse, Inès wool blended trousers; ruffle shoes
Introducing Inès de La Fressange at Uniqlo Menswear
I temporarily have a new recruit at Midlifechic! When Uniqlo sent me their press information announcing the launch of their first menswear collection, it immediately struck me that it was the perfect preppy look. Of course it’s great for husbands and partners but for me, right now, its real strength lies in the headache it has solved for Sixth Form wear. So – who better to model it for me than the shiny new Sixth Former?
He was feeling a bit uncertain about what to do so I briefed him – shoulders back, stand tall and smile…
…and he did! So, the genius, in my opinion, is in the unstructured jacket. It is unlined which means that the boy instantly loved it because it doesn’t feel like a school blazer. He can move more freely and when it gets colder, he will be able to wear it as the chic Parisians do, with a Uniqlo ultra light down jacket underneath.
It comes up quite big – I ordered a large because I often find that Uniqlo is sized for a small frame but it will need altering (he has a 42″ chest). It is also available in grey. He is wearing it with Uniqlo slim fit chinos
Inès tweed jacket; denim shirt; slim fit chinos; Brogues
…and a slim fit denim shirt which I think he’ll get away with at school because it doesn’t actually look like denim.
If it hadn’t been for the Inès launch I would never have thought of going to Uniqlo for Sixth Form clothing but it’s much better quality than the other places he would have veered towards. I’m now busy stocking up on a few more pieces.
So, that brings me to the end of the post. I thought I’d leave you with a few outtakes – we tried to do a mother and son shoot but we couldn’t stop laughing so it didn’t work out – as you can see.
I may not have captured the sophistication of Inès de La Fressange but I hope I’ve managed to convey some of her joy because I love this range of clothing. As I said at the beginning, I just wish there was more of it and that it was around for longer – but then maybe it wouldn’t feel quite so special if it was. And finally thank you to Uniqlo for letting everyone at Midlifechic see it first – I really do feel honoured that you continue to launch your season with me.