20 YEARS & ONE PRIVATE ISLAND LATER ...
favourite blush, Orgasm, and photographing long-time collaborator Marc Jacobs topless and painted up to glossy red perfection. “When you are young, you are fearless,” he says, as he shares a quiet laugh with Nars international lead make-up stylist Lena Kora. “Oh, that’s true,” says Kora. “François was like a god to me. When we met almost two decades ago at a Ferretti show in Milano and he said, ‘If you ever find yourself in New York … ’ I packed my bags and went to New York. It was a dream come true.” “Oh, I’m sure there was some drama … No dreams without drama.” Kora smiles: “But you won’t find a more generous teacher.” It’s the stuff of beauty-industry legends, how this Frenchman took NYC by storm, his work in every glossy from Harper’s BAZAAR to Vogue. Up there with the biggest names in fashion, and the brass rings of advertising campaigns – Calvin Klein and Versace, thank you – what really set Nars apart was the hunger to create. After his lipsticks hit Barney’s of New York there was no looking back and yet he was creatively insatiable. Photography books followed, starting with X-Ray, a visual tome of the fashion glitterati, and then a couple of beautifully crafted make-up books. But it was the 15th anniversary of Nars that saw the release of 15X15 and marked his incredible relationship with industry celebrities who channelled different characters. Last year, Nars celebrated its 20th anniversary with a campaign that starred the one and only Charlotte Rampling and 40 Audacious lipsticks. He also released his labour of love: Faery Lands, a collection of his personal photography of Tahiti.
Which of course begs the question: Do you ever pause for breath Mr. Nars? This elicits that natural, almost self-deprecating laugh. “Well, my life now, as creative director of the brand, is very different. I’m still very involved in the creative process – it is important to me that we stay true to the brand DNA. An average day sees me working on my photography books, creative collaborations – the recent one with photographer Steven Klein was particularly inspiring – I’m at press launches and overseeing
“Motu Tane was designed as a space of celebration for my family and loved ones. There is a spirit of communality about it.” – François Nars