How the cult make-up brand has spent 20 years at the top

Evening Standard - West End Final Extra - ES Magazine - - Weekending - Edited by Re­becca New­man

Over time, beauty trends swirl around. Star prod­ucts have their mo­ment (cur­rently, Boots No7 Pro­tect & Per­fect Ad­vanced Serum and Chanel Rouge Noir), then the beam moves on. How­ever, cer­tain peren­ni­als are an un­chang­ing part of the make-up artist’s ar­moury: a MAC Strobe high­lighter here, Shu Ue­mura eye­lash curlers there, and a hand­ful of items from the cult brand Nars.

You’ve prob­a­bly en­coun­tered the ul­ti­mate hero, the Nars Mul­ti­ple — a three-in-one high­lighter stick that is won­der­ful on lips, eyes and cheeks. Al­most cer­tainly you’ll have used some of its de­scen­dants. If you haven’t tried the Nars Blush in Or­gasm (two prod­ucts in the Or­gasm shade are sold glob­ally ev­ery minute), the Il­lu­mi­na­tor cream in Copaca­bana (the per­fect ac­ces­sory for a tan), or the Vel­vet Matte Lip Pen­cil in Dragon Girl (for the best, last­ing matte red lip), then you have some treats in store.

But what of the man be­hind the brand? Born in the South of France in 1959, François Nars grad­u­ated from the Carita make-up school in Paris and moved to New York. Team­ing up with pho­tog­ra­pher Steven Meisel, in the 1980s he worked closely with all the su­pers from Naomi to Linda to Cindy to Christy, help­ing ce­ment their sta­tus. Dis­ap­pointed by the prod­ucts on of­fer, in 1994 he launched a line of 12 lip­sticks. As well as his gen­tly flat­ter­ing prod­ucts to con­tour the face, such as the blush, he is par­tic­u­larly fa­mous for richly pig­mented colour.

François Nars with Linda Evan­ge­lista in 2013

Above Nail Pol­ish in Gold Viper. Above left Vel­vet Matte Lip Pen­cil in Dragon Girl. Top Il­lu­mi­na­tor in Copaca­bana. Right Semi Matte Lip­stick in Schiap

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