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Queen of Cool


Queen of Cool
Actress and singer Charlotte Gainsbourg shares her beauty secrets.

French-British actress and singer Charlotte Gainsbourg admits she was surprised when French make-up icon, François Nars approached her to collaborate. “I was flattered and quite excited because it was such an unusual request for me, I don’t typically wear a lot of makeup,” Gainsbourg says. Despite her minimalist approach to all things beauty Gainsbourg has always been a NARS enthusiast. “I’ve always love the brand. When I was younger, I didn’t put anything on my face but aesthetically the colour palette always seemed beautiful.” It was her sister Kate that first introduced her to the brand. “As a photographer, she was enthusiastic about the products. Then, thanks to makeup artists, I tried more and more products and loved them all.”

What was the collaborative process like in creating this collection?
First it was a question of evaluating what I wished for and what François was expecting. He made me feel so comfortable, I could do anything I wanted as long as it came from me, something personal. So that’s what I did, created this collection around my exact beauty needs.

How did you select the colours and products for the collection?
The colours came later. First it was a question of what kind of product. I couldn’t go toward something that was opposite of me, so it had to be quite natural. And, in the end colours were sort of obvious for me, nothing flashy, just tinted. Emotional if possible, my references had to do with actresses in films, so a natural cheek, redness from crying, running – things that move me.

What was your overall inspiration in creating the collection?
The stuff I need in my bag, what I hope to buy, a bit of this with a bit of that. And my favourite colours army green, dark grey and dark blue. And on top of that, natural and effortless!

How would you compare the creative process of designing a makeup line to that of composing a song?
It feels completely different. First of all, for Nars, there were 10 of us sitting around a table, exchanging ideas. The feeling was light-hearted and easy. Fabien Baron was also wonderful to work with, suggesting that I could trust my instincts and didn’t have to look too far. They were making it sound as if anything was possible. A song for me is a quiz, implausible and mysterious.

Who are your beauty icons?
My mother (Jane Birkin), Charlotte Rampling, Brigitte Bardot.

What do you look for in makeup?
It depends on whether it’s for a shoot or real life. Films tend to get closer to real life, so for those, anything that will seem natural, erasing a few signs of age.

Tell us about your typical makeup and skin care regimen and why it works for you?

I tend to use a skin care called Biologique Recherche.I come back to it each time I wander off and try out new things. I should know by now that that never works for me. Then it’s really just a question of camouflaging dark circles a little (not too much), spots, and giving myself a little life in the cheeks. In the morning it’s too early for me to enhance lashes or lips, that can happen later in the day.

The NARS x Charlottes Gainsbourg is available from


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