This Glossy Life With Charlotte Gainsbourg

Meet ACTRESS, musician, and MUSE to some of the biggest names in fashion, CHARLOTTE GAINSBOURG …


As an actress renowned for taking on the most challenging of roles, a musician and muse to Balenciaga and Louis Vuitton, Charlotte Gainsbourg, 45, is an intriguing figure whose famous parentage (French singer-songwriter Serge Gainsbourg and British model Jane Birkin) is just one of the interesting things about her. Gainsbourg is currently working on a French film directed by Arnaud Desplechin, finishing her solo album and launching her first beauty collaboration with Nars.

ON BEING DESCRIBED AS A MUSE AND ICON  I don’t see that, I’m always uncomfortable with how I look. I’m not as bad as I was when I was younger but it’s always there with me … It’s nice to know that people enjoy something about me, but I’m not confident enough to be aware of it. And also I don’t want to think about it too much. ON STYLE  I like the idea of almost wearing a uniform for every day. My father used to wear the same clothes every day. He had maybe two pairs of jeans and two shirts and the same shoes and it was exactly the same look all the time. That was him, so maybe I was brought up with the idea that you had a persona. It seemed very easy and there was something very reassuring about it for me. For every day, I wear the same pair of pants, jeans and the same shoes. I do buy too many things and then end up not liking them, so I always go back to what I know. DESIGNERS I MOST ADMIRE AND LIKE TO WEAR  My close friend Nicolas Ghesquière at Louis Vuitton and Saint Laurent. FAVOURITE HAUNTS  I love to food shop in New York’s Union Square. I always love visiting Japan; it is one of my favourite places to go. I am actually travelling there this month. ON BEING IN HER 40s AND THE PRESSURE TO PRESENT AN “AGELESS” FACE  I feel it’s unfair, parts definitely get thinner as you age. The great age for an actress is – of course, some examples prove the contrary – is between, I don’t know, 30 to 45, and then it starts going down. So it’s very difficult to see that. I enjoy the work so much but at the same time I don’t like seeing myself ageing on camera so I don’t know if I’ll be able to do it for a very long time. ON WORKING ON THE SNOWMAN, OUT LATER THIS YEAR  The experience was great, I love being able to do different type of films and roles. This film is quite stylised, so it was interesting because I was able to have fun with the costumes, and the look was a little special. All of my films have been happy accidents in one way or another. But trying to find a great role is hard – I look for something challenging. Something that means, first of all, you’ll have fun, you’re with challenging people, collaboration means something. ON COLLABORATING WITH FRANÇOIS NARS  I have always loved the brand; the packaging is always so elegant and unusual. When François approached me for this I was flattered and quite excited because it was such an unusual request for me, I don’t typically wear a lot of make-up, so I was surprised. First, it was a question of evaluating what I wanted and what François was expecting. He made me feel so comfortable, I could do anything I wanted as long as it came from me, something personal. So that’s what I did, created this collection around my exact beauty needs. I couldn’t endorse something that was opposite of me, so it had to be quite natural. All of the [product] names are personal to me in one way or another. Alice is named after my daughter, London Clinic is where I was born, rue Allent a street close to my father’s house where I grew up, and Old Church Street is my grandparents’ home in London. ON HER MAKE-UP STYLE If I had to say, it would be very natural. I don’t wear a lot of make-up. It’s really, for me, all about hiding little imperfections and enhancing different things you want to accentuate with some concealer and a tinted lip or a flush of colour on your cheeks. I do like to step out of my comfort zone for photoshoots, it’s fun to play with different things that I wouldn’t try normally. In films, I would say that I love that make-up becomes a tool, whether it be conveying emotions in a scene through rednesses – like when you’re about to cry or after, when your eyes and nose are red – all those little things make a scene more real. WHAT MY MOTHER TAUGHT ME My mother always told me she thought she wore too much make-up when she was younger. I remember that as a tip, just the idea of trying to stay natural for my daughters, it is very surprising because I cannot do anything about it – it is just happening. I think the less I say the better, because I want my daughters to be able to explore and not to feel restrained. I hope that they will be as comfortable as possible in comparison to me; it took me such a long time to accept anything about myself. I’m watching them, and I think they’re on a good path. It’s really about staying true to yourself and what works for you.”

The Charlotte Gainsbourg for Nars collection is at Brown Thomas.

Sarah Halliwell

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