MULTI-TAL­ENTED

Harper’s Bazaar (Malaysia) - - Beauty -

When the time came to launch an ad­ver­tis­ing cam­paign, a re­stric­tive bud­get did noth­ing to de­ter him. He cap­tured the dark-skinned per­fec­tion of model Wek, who em­bod­ied ev­ery­thing atyp­i­cal of Nars’s def­i­ni­tion of beauty. It is pre­cisely this predilec­tion for the unique that keeps him at the front.

“In the nat­u­ral pur­suit of beauty, women change con­stantly – great prod­ucts in­spire and guide this process. It’s all about find­ing dif­fer­ent ways to ex­press in­di­vid­ual beauty and per­son­al­ity,” de­scribes Nars of his provoca­tive aes­thetic, which aims to in­spire self-ex­pres­sion and for­ward think­ing.

Work­ing with Meisel, Pa­trick De­marche­lier, and Irv­ing Penn, Nars lent his imag­i­na­tion to cre­ate some truly un­for­get­table, ground­break­ing im­ages grac­ing the pages of high fash­ion mag­a­zines in­clud­ing Harper’s BAZAAR. He val­ues this process as a means of im­prov­ing his work and sharp­en­ing his eye to take up the cam­era him­self. “I’ve al­ways loved pho­tog­ra­phy. I could have eas­ily picked up pho­tog­ra­phy in­stead of make-up, grow­ing up. They are very con­nected – they go hand in hand.” In fact, Nars has put to­gether some truly stylised pho­tog­ra­phy tomes over the years, such as X-Ray (1999) and Makeup Your Mind: Ex­press Your­self (2001) that fea­tured the un­for­get­table faces of Carine Roit­feld, Diane von Fürsten­berg, Alexan­der McQueen, and Donatella Ver­sace, all shot by the make-up mae­stro him­self.

NEW MEDIUM

The Mul­ti­ple, the Jun­gle Red lip­stick, and the Or­gasm – ev­ery prod­uct in Nars is bound to pro­voke. He once di­vulged of his prod­uct chris­ten­ing process in In­ter­view: “I have this lit­tle agenda that I am filling up 24 hours a day with names.” Of course, there is al­ways the ques­tion of the iconic, scan­dalous moniker that gets us blush­ing. “I came up with the name Or­gasm first be­fore the colour. I wanted to cre­ate some­thing more au­da­cious.” Or­gasm still counts as one of the most sug­ges­tive, best-sell­ing blush­ers ever.

Al­though he left the scene for 10 years – only to re­turn with 60 stun­ning looks for Marc Ja­cobs’s Au­tumn/Win­ter ’09 show – he al­ways kept a close reign of his brand de­spite hav­ing sold the com­pany to Shi­seido Cos­met­ics in 2000. He con­tin­ues to pho­to­graph the cam­paigns, and re­cently over­saw the in­stal­la­tion of his bou­tique, again de­signed with Baron, on 413 Bleecker Street in West Vil­lage, New York City. Cue hard­wood floors, Louis XVI-style mould­ings, a mono­chrome colour scheme, and a fire­place. He told The New York Times that “It’s more a per­sonal space than a shop. I wanted some­thing warm and mod­ern that re­flected my per­son­al­ity. I could live there!”

TAKE ME THERE

This style may just be re­flec­tive of his pri­vate do­main in Motu Tané, one of the French Poly­ne­sian is­lands that Nars calls his own. He cites the un­tainted blue hori­zon, ver­dant fronds, shim­mer­ing blue sea, and golden sand­scape as inspiration for the vi­brant colours and high-im­pact tex­tures that will have women charging through the doors of his bou­tique, de­mand­ing their share of his ge­nius. “Make-up artists are like painters. I come up with so many ideas when I am there. It’s a mag­i­cal place,” he muses, so much so that he is set to re­lease a new cof­fee ta­ble book, which of­fers fans a win­dow into his world on the lush pri­vate is­land.

It is easy to see Motu Tané in the soft loose pow­der that sim­ply dis­ap­pears into the skin; its sun in the Tahi­tian Body Glow; and the shock­ing bright hues for the lips and eyes. Also, Nars’s glow-in­duc­ing skin­care line of light-ac­tive mi­cro-prisms that bring clar­ity and lu­mi­nos­ity to the skin long be­fore any­thing else goes on. “Skin is 50 per­cent of the make-up,” he fa­mously said when Narskin launched in 2002. “The best skin is skin that can re­flect light.”

One won­ders, though: If the dis­tinc­tive qual­i­ties of a woman’s in­di­vid­ual skin is half of what de­ter­mines her beauty, what then of the trends sub­scribed to by the masses? “There only used to be one trend. There is so much more free­dom in beauty to­day,” says the make-up artist. “There are no rules. Nars is about find­ing looks and trends that suit you best. We of­fer pos­si­bil­i­ties. We never dic­tate. Go with what catches your eye!”

The Mul­ti­ple in Or­gasm, a first and one- of-its-kind head-to-toe il­lu­mi­na­tor that tops the favourite charts of ma­jor celebri­ties and in­dus­try ex­perts alike

Stella Ten­nant rep­re­sents the mod­ern beauty of Nars Fa­mous friends would sit for his pho­tog­ra­phy tomes. Here, Marc Ja­cobs, all dolled up by Nars

Nars x Guy Bour­din Cin­e­matic Lip­stick in Fu­ture Red, RM90

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