Francois Nars On Intelligent Women And The Rise Of The Beauty Blogger

12/11/2015 11:33 AM AEDT | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST
Yuriko Nakao via Getty Images
TOKYO, JAPAN - NOVEMBER 06: Lipsticks are displayed at the NARS Pop-Up Boutique at R-Studio of Omotesando Hills on November 6, 2014 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Yuriko Nakao/Getty Images for NARS)

He's the man behind one of the biggest makeup brands in the world.

He was the first to pluck Madonna's eyebrows. Drake raps about his infamous blush shade 'orgasm' in one of his songs. He own a private French Polynesian island called Motu Tane from which he draws limitless inspiration -- which may explain why so many of his products are named after exotic locations.

Blurring the lines between art and celebrity, he is Francois Nars.

Born in the south of France, Nars attended Carita Makeup School in Paris before moving to New York in 1984 to work at American Vogue, Harper's BAZAAR, Italian Vogue and Elle.

Routinely working with designers such as Karl Lagerfeld, Marc Jacobs, and Ralph Lauren, Nars has also shot with the likes of Patrick Demarchelier, Irving Penn and Steven Meislen.

francois nars 2015

(L-R) Designer Alexander Wang, photographer Steven Klein and Creative Director and Founder of NARS Cosmetics Francois Nars

Launching the cosmetics brand in 1994, the range consisted of just 12 lipstick shades and was sold at Barneys New York.

More than 20 years on, Nars now not only produces one of the world's most coveted labels, he is an established photographer in his own right, having shot and written a number of his own books.

Nars sat down for a rare interview with The Huffington Post Australia while in Sydney to talk muses, timeless beauty and his thoughts on the rise of beauty bloggers as the new makeup artists.

With trends so quickly coming and going, a lot of women want a timeless beauty look. What is timeless beauty to you?

"Timeless beauty is about finding your own style, which can be very hard. Knowing by instinct you should be able to find what makes you look good when you look at yourself in the mirror in the morning.

"It can take a few years, but slowly you should develop your sense of what works for you. Women have that inner sense to know they look great with a red lipstick, or with a pale lip, or if they should put the emphasis on their eyes.

"It's not easy, so some women may need the help of a professional to discover that. Nowadays it's easier than ever as there's so many experts who can help, but in general women know what works for them."

Which celebrity, past or present, do you think embody timeless beauty?

Catherine Deneuve, the French actress. She has been very faithful to her style over the years -- and not because she is French -- I don't care if a woman is French, or American or Australian, but Catherine has a strong sense of style and she knows what works for her and she always looks good.

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Catherine Deneuve

What advice would you give to women who find makeup daunting?

"Go to a professional. Or, stay within the safe trends and colours -- but you might be missing something that would really work for you.

"If you're feeling really hopeless or overwhelmed -- which is okay, some people are born knowing instinctively and others are not -- go to a professional or makeup counter and have people who know what they are talking about help you and put you on track.

"I'd also suggest that women play. You know, makeup washes off. A haircut is more of a commitment, but if you buy an eyeshadow and you don't like it, give it to your friend.

"Lastly, always have great light -- do your makeup in daylight -- or if you must do it inside,then check it daylight, which is the truest light."

How should makeup make women feel?

"Makeup is a great tool to make you look good, which makes you feel good and that creates confidence. I think you feel more confident and you can face the world if you're feeling your best. That's what makeup is for and that's why it's such a great accessory.

"It doesn't cost that much -- it's not plastic surgery -- and with a few good tools you can feel powerful and confident. Vanity can be a good thing. It's good to be a little bit vain when it comes to looking good. If it becomes an obsession that's bad, but looking after yourself is good."

what is your opinion of the rise in popularity of beauty bloggers and vloggers in the industry?

"I think they are cute. For me it's quite new because my career came before the internet, and it has come to play a big part in the industry.

"For us as a brand it's great because a lot of bloggers believe in our products, and when people talk and blog about the product, people listen. They are very influential."

How do you select your models or muses?

"I only work with people who I am attracted to. I mean in a sense of their personality and energy. My choice is always people who I admire.

"Of course there is a physical aspect, that goes without saying in this industry, but I'm always interested in people with strong personality and character. I like intelligent and people who have something say and have a great career began them, or in front of them. I like women with strong charisma."

Nars is sold exclusively through Mecca Cosmetica in Australia and the limited edition Steven Klein collection is in store now and online now.

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