A Tale of Two Frenchies (aka Uniqlo x Ines and Carine)

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Y’all know I love collabos between designers and fast fashion giants. But lately, I’ve been loving the collaborations that are “inspired” rather than “designed” by celebrity muses.

Case in point? Uniqlo’s recent forays with two legendary doyennes of French fashion: Inès de La Fressange and Carine Roitfeld. Both women have legendary pedigrees. La Fressange was a model and muse for everyone from Karl Lagerfeld to Roger Vivier. (In addition to her clothes, I adore both her book and her YouTube videos.) Roitfeld is a major magazine editor (formerly of Vogue Paris and most recently former creation  CR Fashion Book.)

Both women are heralded as paragons of Parisian chic. And both have upcoming collections dropping with Uniqlo.

Yet they (the women and the clothes) couldn’t be more different. Let’s take a look.

Carine Roitfeld x Uniqlo

(Available February 11 — Shop here)

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One of the looks from Carine Roitfeld’s Uniqlo collaboration.

Roitfeld’s aesthetic can best be described as darker, grittier, smokier. (Not just her eye make-up, which is aways circles of black kohl, but the overall palette — she wears a LOT of black.) Because of her penchant for provocative photoshoots, she’s earned a reputation as the high priestess of “porno chic.”

This intensity has been dialed down for the Uniqlo collaboration, but there’s still a hint of dirty-chic — like a hangover that’s lingered for three days.

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Carine Roitfeld

Her latest collection with Uniqlo (this is her second) is heavy on black and olive tones. There’s a lot of faux leather, silk shirts and tights. Like work clothes that are just a little TOO tight and revealing.

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In Roitfeld’s first Uniqlo collaboration, I walked away with a coat, two sweaters (seen on my Twitter feed) and one silk blouse (seen on the blog here).

My favorite piece from this upcoming collection? The camo-colored palm tree skirt below. I also love the styling of the open-weave tights with the strappy summer sandals. (If only I had the cojones to wear it in the NYC winter!)

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Next, let’s look at the collaboration with La Fressange.

Inès de La Fressange x Uniqlo

(Available January 21 — Shop here.)

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La Fressange’s aesthetic is best described as classic and quintessential. Her looks tend to be non-fussy while still looking extremely expensive, but because they are so minimal, they can look a little… well, boring.

In the wrong hands, her clothes could certainly be too normcore for my tastes — so this collection takes a deft hand at styling and a huge helping of attitude on behalf of the wearer.

See below. Jeans, navy shirt, khaki blazer, boots. Anyone can wear this — but it’s the attitude that makes La Fressange look amazing. (The lush background doesn’t hurt, either.)

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Her upcoming collection has two major motifs: safari and sport. The safari selection is YUMMY — khaki jackets and taupe striped shirts all styled with boots and thick, delicious normcore socks.

I was less excited by the “sporty” side of the collaboration, which look like the golf uniforms that the killers in Funny Games wear when they (spoiler!) kill everyone. (You can click the link to see the costumes, and no, there’s no gore.)

My point is, these sweaters and slacks look hopelessly dated and costume-y, like you’d wear for croquet, right before you pose for the photograph at the end of The Shining.

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You tell me — which collaboration do you like more? Roitfeld or La Fressange? Sound off in the comments@

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