BRIGHT BE­GIN­NINGS

Harper’s Bazaar (Malaysia) - - The Beauty -

Nars has al­ways had a unique eye for fash­ion and beauty, but what re­ally set him apart was a nascent tal­ent that led to an ac­cep­tance at the pres­ti­gious Carita Beauty School in Paris. Even­tu­ally came an ap­pren­tice­ship with French make-up mae­stro Olivier Echaude­mai­son.

And then – 1984. At a time when beauty looks were heav­ily made up, Nars’s sig­na­ture make-up style was gain­ing mo­men­tum. The fresh skin and dar­ing use of colour caught the eye of fash­ion tastemak­ers – most no­tably Polly Mellen, cre­ative direc­tor of Al­lure, who urged him to trans­plant to New York City to fur­ther what was def­i­nitely a bur­geon­ing ca­reer.

Vogue. Harper’s BAZAAR. Mi­lan. Paris. New York. Lon­don. Nars cre­ated beauty looks for fash­ion gi­ants such as Versace and Marc Ja­cobs. He col­lab­o­rated with some of the most fa­mous pho­tog­ra­phers of all time – Hel­mut New­ton, Steven Meisel, Paolo Roversi – on un­for­get­table images, in­clud­ing Madonna’s no­to­ri­ously risqué looks in her ’80s videos and book, Sex. And who could for­get that ’90s su­per­model look made fa­mous by Naomi, Linda, Christy – all of whom Meisel im­mor­talised with that fash­ion spread shot in New York City.

TRUE CALL­ING

But some­thing was still miss­ing. Af­ter many years of lug­ging around prod­ucts to blend, mix, and match to come up with the de­sired ef­fects, tex­tures, and hues, Nars de­cided to come up with his own brand of lip­sticks – only 12 colours sold ex­clu­sively at Bar­neys New York when it launched in 1994. Rich and sat­u­rated in pig­ment, shod in a black soft-touch pack­ag­ing de­signed by Fa­bien Baron (who still over­sees Nars’s pack­ag­ing and store de­signs to­day), the shades and sen­sa­tion were like noth­ing that had ever hit the mar­ket.

Due to over­whelm­ing de­mand, a full cos­met­ics line was thence launched. Known for prod­ucts with ex­tra­or­di­nary colours, tex­tures, and tongue-in-cheek names – most fa­mously, Or­gasm, a se­duc­tive shim­mery peach-pink blush

Nars and Fa­bien Baron at the 2012 store open­ing in New York City Make-up galore in the Bleecker Street flag­ship

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