“I have a real love affair with lipstick. It gives you more power.” Francois Nars is the man behind the brand that’s revolutionised the beauty industry in more ways than you can ever know. Now celebrating his 20th anniversary, Francois is commemorating with the launch of a 40-piece ‘Audacious’ lipstick collection which takes the iconic brand right back to its roots; he launched NARS way back in 1994 as a 12-piece lipstick offering, so it seems only fitting to celebrate such a milestone in homage to the product that started it all. The collection includes every colour imaginable, including delicate nudes, pinky tints, coral tones, bold reds, berry shades and some truly innovative cococtions that are incredibly difficult to categorise. Formulated to provide the most incredible pigment, variety of colour, longevity and comfort, NARS Audacious lipsticks offer lipstick addicts everything they could need and more.
The shades themselves provide an incredible colour result in only one swipe of the bullet, minimising the need for multiple applications or uncomfortable dragging; a subtle sheen ensures lips look ultra lucious and kissable, making these fabulous lipsticks to be worn throughout the festive season and beyond. The lightweight packs have been designed to be super high-tech too, featuring a magnetic closing cap that ensures the bullet is protected from floating fluff in your handbag; when you spend some serious cash on a lipstick you want to ensure it’s in pristine condition for as long as possible! Although the Audacious lipstick collection has been launched to commemorate Francois’ 20th anniversary, it’s a permanent collection that will no doubt bring huge amounts of pleasure to professionals and beauty enthusiasts alike.
I was lucky enough to spend some time with Francois Nars ahead of his anniversary and launch of Audacious, giving me an opportunity to ask all my burning questions and delve deeper into the psyche of a modern day genius; if you’ve ever wondered what his favourite product is or why he called a blusher ‘Orgasm’, then you’ll want to read on and find out more…
What inspired you to get into the world of beauty?
The world of fashion was very attractive to me. From the age of seven or eight years old I used to flick through the pages of fashion magazines with my mother; she was responsible for causing the disease of being a fashion addict. I got into makeup through the fashion magazines.
Why did you start your brand?
I was extremely exposed in all the magazines and was working a lot with American Vogue, so it was the perfect time for me. I was a little frustrated that I couldn’t find a brand that provided all the products I wanted – I used to pick a lipstick here, a blush there, all from different brands. I thought if I was going to launch my brand it had to provide everything I needed under one name.
Where does your inspiration come from?
From so many different places – traveling is a big part of where my inspiration comes from; I love movies, museums, going to exhibitions. I love walking along the street, reading books, it’s really endless. I dig wherever I can for inspiration for an entire collection; it’s very eclectic.
Was there a reason behind some of the more controversial NARS shade names?
With ‘orgasm’ I thought it was a great name and so why not? Makeup provides a way of looking great, making women feel great and enjoying life – for me makeup is pleasurable, like sex, so it was a natural progression. NARS is always a little bit on the edge, a little shocking; I think I like pushing buttons a little bit. Women really embraced it everywhere and it probably became the most famous blush in the world, so I was proved right.
You use quite iconic, but unusual, women to front your campaigns. How do you choose?
The models I always choose for my campaigns are my muses; I love faces that are a bit unusual and not typical ‘cute’ beauty. I like strong features and faces with character, so I’m very attracted to those kind of women – especially if they have strong personalities. It’s very rare that you see me picking a model that looks like a Barbie doll.
What’s your favourite individual product of all the NARS products?
I love the velvet matte lip pencil; it’s a great pencil because it’s really rich, easy to use and not greasy so it’s one of my favourite things. Of course I love the new lipsticks, that goes without saying; I love that they’re rich in pigment and they last a very long time so you don’t have to keep re-applying.
What one NARS product should every woman have in their makeup bag?
I would say the Multiple stick. It’s still such a great iconic product and it comes in so many shades that there’s definitely one for everybody. It’s a very easy product to look good in; you barely need a mirror to apply it, it’s so easy to use – you dab it on your eyelid, on your lips, on your cheeks. For women who are very active and have multiple roles, the Multiple stick can be thrown in your bag and applied in the back of a cab. It helps you look great with very little effort; you can apply a little bit and you look fresh and fabulous.
The Audacious lipstick collection is available now, available in 40 shades and priced £24.00 each.