Feminine, lyrical, and nostalgic. Nars’s most ethereal make-up collection to date is a product of collaboration with French photographer Sarah Moon. Moon, alongside François Nars, speaks to Li Ying Lim about the extraordinary process.
n the ’70s, I was really obsessed with photography, fashion, and make-up,” François Nars recalls. “Sarah [Moon] used to shoot those campaigns for Cacharel and Carita. I felt like, ‘Oh my God. Those are some of the most beautiful pictures I have ever seen.’ They were like paintings.” Born in the south of France in 1959, the beauty maestro cultivated a discerning eye for fashion at a very young age. Heavily influenced by high fashion magazines his mother would collect, Nars used to sketch the faces of the models he saw in the editorial images, captured by renowned photographers such as Helmut Newton, Guy Bourdin, and of course, Sarah Moon.
Having cut his teeth at Carita’s make-up school in Paris, Nars was noted as a star talent at the nascence of his career in cosmetics. He worked backstage at Saint Laurent, shot with prominent photographer Paolo Roversi, and was courted by then-BAZAAR editor Polly Mellen, who urged him to move to New York. This led to his decision to elevate his make-up trajectory. While continuing to rise to the top—often times working with Steven Meisel and the ’90s supermodel squad—he founded cult international make-up brand Nars with a collection of lipsticks in 1994. Today, the brand is owned by Shiseido Company, but its founder still manages the brand’s creative endeavours very closely.
Having brought many of his inspirations and favourite art and photography to various collaborative collections over the years—such as those with Bourdin, Steven Klein and Andy Warhol—Nars decided to turn to Moon this year. He says, “When I think of Sarah, she’s always there with me in a way, in the back of my mind. Even when we [have never] seen each other [before]. I never actually met her until we decided to work together.”