SINGAPORE - When the late shoe designer Roger Vivier asked to meet former model Ines de la Fressange in the mid-1990s, she was so taken aback she thought it was a friend playing a joke on her at first.
The Gallic beauty says she changed her outfit multiple times, arrived early for the meeting and felt immensely shy meeting the renowned designer.
"He was a very beautiful old man with white hair," recalls the 56-year-old in an interview with Urban. Ms de la Fressange was in town last week for the official opening of the Roger Vivier boutique here.
"He was saying how happy he was to meet me and that I was the typical Parisian woman," she says of the man whose name was famous in fashion circles for designing beautiful shoes.
"I wanted to say, 'Stop. You're the master'."
Mr Vivier was interested in getting her help in relaunching his brand, but Msde la Fressange declined as she was not convinced of his plan for growing the brand.
It was serendipitous then, that when the brand was acquired by Tod's chairman Diego Della Valle in 2000 after Mr Vivier's death and re-started in 2003 with creative director Bruno Frisoni at the helm, Mr Della Valle called on her to become the brand ambassador. The businessman did not know that she had previously met with Mr Vivier.
As brand ambassador, she promotes the brand in a variety of roles, from meeting the press and wearing the brand's items at public events, to appearing in videos for the brand's YouTube channel.
UNFUSSY AND ELEGANT
Impossibly tall at 1.8m and all long limbs and grace, Ms de la Fressange tells Urban in fluent English: "I like the brand's philosophy that you can do something very elegant but not boring."
The allure and history of the brand, combined with Mr Della Valle's business savvy, was what made her take on the brand ambassador role.