When ELLE met Francois Nars

Me & Mr Nars

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Francois Nars is a bonafide icon. Creator of the mega brand, (which started with just 12 lipsticks in an unassuming makeup counter at Barneys NYC), photographer, make up artist and creative director. To say we were honoured to chat is an understatment. Here's how it went. 

ELLE: How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

FRANCOIS: Perfectionist, for sure. Because I’m never happy. Its never perfect enough. Impatient. And maybe, funny. I have a good sense of humour.

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ELLE: And how would your friends describe you?

FRANCOIS: They all know me for being a perfectionist, so that for sure. We laugh a lot so that too. And impatient, they would say that too! I hate waiting I have no patience. 

ELLE: Why did you want to start just with the lipsticks?

FRANCOIS: First of all, I love lipstick (as does our beauty director, aka @i_love_lipstick). It was s a test, we wanted to trial the line and the name to see if it was going to work, so we thought lipstick would be the best selling option. They loved it all, so I guess it was a good encouragement to keep going. A good start. I wanted to create the brand NARS for the fun of it!

ELLE: Did you always want to launch a brand?

FRANCOIS: I didn’t know when I became a makeup artist at the age of 19 that I would have a make up line one day. I only had the idea two years before we launched the lipstick. It felt at the time, as I was working so much, my name was out there in the magazines, that I felt ok its now or never. I did it with a couple friends around me and it worked.

ELLE: Who did you have in mind when developing Nars? 

FRANCOIS: I would say I pleased myself with the first 12 lipsticks. I wanted my friends to wear them, the models I worked with. Really I was doing all the colours I liked and I just had fun with it. It was like a game.

ELLE: What is your favourite Nars product?

FRANCOIS: I love the Velvet Matte Lip Pencils. I would have it in my kit at all times, in all colours and use it on everybody! I love the thickness, its very nice to use, very easy to use. As a make up artist first, I am very pleased with so many products in the line, unfortunately I don’t use them as much as I would have when I was doing make up, but I know people enjoy them and I enjoy watching people use them.

ELLE: How do you describe your role at Nars now?

FRANCOIS: I don’t like to label myself, oh im a photographer, or a make up artist. Im a multi tasker. I love doing everything.

ELLE: What do you still hope to achieve professionally?

FRANCOIS: It would be fun to do a clothing line, I also love houses and interiors. There are always things to do. I think when you love colour you can automatically touch on other things.

ELLE: Who is your most inspirational woman?

FRANCOIS: Charlotte Rampling (the face of Nars Audacious lipsticks) is one of many. There are so many woman that I love. I've worked with Tilda Swinton who is a very inspiring person. I get inspired by models all the time - they can carry so many looks that they are inspiring.

ELLE: What do you think is your biggest success?

FRANCOIS: Well I would say Nars. If I die tomorrow, that will always remain. Very few people on the planet can say they will have something still there when they die, and I think that’s a very big achievement. So that feels nice.

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