Tem­ple of NARS

Graphic, bold, and su­per mod­ern – wel­come to the Nars aes­thetic. By Li Ying Lim.

Harper’s Bazaar (Malaysia) - - Beauty -

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 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

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