Temple of NARS
Graphic, bold, and super modern – welcome to the Nars aesthetic. By Li Ying Lim.
TFrançois Nars he first thing François Nars noticed about Linda Evangelista in the ’90s was her prominent gums. “What interests me is character. I’ve always been attracted to faces with personality, strength, and a unique quality. That is beauty,” says the legendary make-up artist who put Evangelista, together with Naomi Campbell, Karen Elson, Alek Wek, and Erin O’Connor on the map, enhancing their features to transform them into some of the most iconic faces of our time.
Raised in Tarbes, South of France, as a child Nars would sketch on paper the images found in his mother’s fashion magazines. When asked about his constant source of inspiration, he would cite his mother Claudette, a former model who lived and breathed fashion by way of a stylish Yves Saint Laurent wardrobe and magazines that would also be consumed voraciously by Nars to feed his colourful imagination. Seminal images by Guy Bourdin and Serge Lutens, Yves Saint Laurent’s designs, and the cinematic glamour of classic Hollywood and French films would ultimately put a brush into his hands in years to come.
FROM PARIS TO NEW YORK
From the prestigious Carita make-up school in Paris, Nars was handpicked to assist on the set of famous photographer Paolo Roversi. While working on a shoot commissioned by editor-in-chief Polly Mellen, Nars was urged to make a permanent move to New York City. He spoke fondly of her in a tête-à-tête with Evangelista in Interview magazine: “I love Polly. She came from an era that was fascinating to me because she worked with [Richard] Avedon in the ’60s. I said, ‘You don’t have to tell me twice – I’ll go and live in New York in a second.”
Forming one part of the fashion triptych that consisted of photographer Steven Meisel and hair maestro Oribe Canales, this young Frenchman was fast becoming a headlining, in-demand make-up artist. Creating looks that ranged from the truly ethereal, natural
Nars believes in more than one definition of beauty
The iconic Jungle Red