I didn't want to create a makeup line for one ethnic group; it had to be multi-ethnic. To me, beauty is beauty. It doesn't matter to me what colour the skin is.
I wanted to be a make up artist. I did it, and the road that I took was quite good.
My interpretation of the word 'ugly'... I like ugly beauty. That can happen. In France, we have phrase 'jolie laide.' We like certain women who are not pretty or cute - it's the opposite in France of pretty. It's more strange and interesting.
Being a studio make-up artist and working on magazines was the only thing I wanted to do.
You are born with this love; fashion and beauty are a part of who I am.
I hate knowing where people go to the bathroom. You follow them going to pee, to eat - I hate everything when it comes to reality shows!
I always had a vision about beauty in general, so probably that's what really drove me into that direction of creating a makeup brand.
My mother never wore much make-up, and she was a kind of natural beauty; she knew just how to enhance what she had.
In this world, you do your job, a good job, and that's what counts.
I had no connections, and the fashion world was a closed elite. So my mother made appointments for herself with three top Parisian makeup artists and spoke highly about me... she was my first publicist!
The '80s and '90s were the greatest time to be a makeup artist.
We don't tell women how to look but give them the products and inspiration they need to feel and look beautiful.
I was a very lucky child because at the age of 16, 17 years old, my parents would buy me clothes from Yves Saint Laurent, which was an incredible luxury at the time, but I was attracted to that whole world. I had a pretty nice little wardrobe by the age of 17.
From the start, I used a different kind of girl in Nars campaign images. My choice to use models of colour such as Alek Wek, Naomi Campbell and Karen Park Goude was absolutely a deliberate one. I felt that makeup was universal and should apply to everybody.
True icons are larger than life, unforgettable with an elegance that's mesmerizingly timeless.
I love strong looks, so to me, no makeup is strong. As long as it makes a statement, that's what I like. The girls look very real, and I'm probably the only makeup artist who will say that I love a woman without makeup.
Women don't want to feel like they're wearing makeup. I hope I was partly responsible for that.
I love so much the models from the '60s and the '70s. They were extremely professional, great models who knew how to work the camera so well and loved fashion and had a great sense of style.
Sometimes I'm attracted to more odd girls with stronger faces and features or a softer beauty with a lot of character.
I'm not so interested in perfect, plastic beauty, and I think it translates in the girls I've shot over the years for Nars, from Guinevere to Iris to Mariacarla. I love those girls. I love the more interesting faces, with maybe a strange nose, not just the Texan blonde. By picking those girls, I think it's changed what I've seen in other campaigns.
Was I a businessman to start with? I'm not sure. I mean, that comes slowly, when you start having the products out. But at the same time, I was very determined. I knew that I had to make it work. I had no choice.
I'm always looking to the lightweight superproduct that you apply and almost don't see. That's the ultimate, at least for me.
I think less is more when it comes to make-up; this really helps achieve a lighter complexion. Heavy make-up creates a canvas and can dull the skin.
It's more fun to have a name rather than a number. I think this gives our products a personality. I get the names from literature, movies, opera, traveling, nature, poetry, sometimes even the street. I keep a small book that I write in. I wake up in the middle of the night and jot down a name for a lipstick or an eyeshadow.
I met Iman and Jerry Hall and all those girls in the late Seventies right when I started working at the fashion shows in Paris as an assistant.
It was the early Seventies, and I discovered makeup by going through my mother's fashion magazines. I fell in love with the photos, the models, the fashion.
I really wanted to have a different approach of beauty because when I came to America, they were still heavily, heavily plastic. The ads were so heavily retouched.
We are not afraid to be a bit different, to make shades that are bold.
A woman who hides behind a mask of makeup is still going to have to take it off at some point... and deal with reality.
I'm always scared of trends. The runways are always so trend-oriented, but I always feel for the women. The real women that buy cosmetics want to see the trends, but they don't necessarily go for them. And I always encourage women to find what looks best on them.
I've always loved the way movie stars in the Forties looked when they were off set. Shot poolside or at their home, they always wore a matte red lipstick with practically no foundation - it was how they wore makeup in real life.
A fresh face with a red lip is timeless. It's supermodern and relaxed but very chic.
Looking at flowers, simple things in life. I don't need to look at gold and a castle; sometimes its very simple things that are very beautiful. I am keeping my eyes fresh to find beauty in many places, and in gold, too, sometimes!
I chose makeup over photography because there was something very sensual about makeup that I loved. But photography was always in the back of my mind. That was always something that I was very connected with: looking at magazines, enjoying photography, and then taking pictures myself when I was a kid.
It's very refreshing to go away and take a break, to clear your head, and just get into something else.
Having worked with so many of the geniuses, I'd learned so much. It's the best sort of photography school, to work with people like Penn or Avedon or Meisel.
I was spoiled growing up in the 1970s because magazines were publishing the photographs of Helmut Newton and Guy Bourdin without compromise. You really felt that sense of freedom through their images.
I photographed Alek Wek. She was amazing, and nobody knew about her then. It was a really strong photograph of her.
Makeup is about balance. When the eye makes a statement, the lips should be quiet.
As a make-up artist, you always want to be in a good light, whether you're walking down the street or in a restaurant. It is a very key element to me; you can't apply good make-up in a bad light.
My vision was to create makeup that was more transparent but with formulas that last. I follow my instincts - it's all very spontaneous!
I can't remember the first time, but I've worked with supermodels almost from day one.
My mother hated foundation; she hated having a mask on her face - and she pushed me to build my own vision and concept of beauty for women.