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When we think about NARS, immediately comes to mind a ton of different colours in sophisticated, minimalist packages, bold ads and cult products. But, did you know that the company started with a simple lipstick range? Back in 1994, makeup artist François Nars created the line for Barneys and it was an instant hit. Soon more cosmetics were introduced with the aforementioned packages signed by Fabien Baron (the creative director of iconic campaigns, like the first Calvin Klein fragrances).
Since François was already a very well-known figure in the fashion industry, it didn’t take long for editors, designers and models swear by the brand, which also had woman going crazy with Orgasm and Exhibit A blushers, Dolce Vita and Schiap lipsticks, the Copacabana multiple, the Turkish Delight lip gloss, Cruella and Roman Holiday lip liners, Rated R eyeshadow, the Body Glow… Of course, the products’ names are another story and usually come from movies, Hollywood stars and iconic cities, with a little dose of irony.
Speaking of it, one of the most famous NARS characters was Marcel (1996-2012), François’ French bulldog who used to share some beauty and life tips on social media. He was the original ‘NARSissist’! Another brand cult is the limited editions, in honour of style icons or cities like New York, Los Angeles and Miami. Last but not least, the ads, photographed by Nars himself mix glamour and daring. Even Marc Jacobs has been featured, heavily painted!
Since I saw the founder’s private island, in Bora Bora, in an American Vogue editorial from December 2004, NARS is also about a tropical paradise for me. I keep thinking how many inspirations for colours and textures had come up after stints in the place, surrounded by that turquoise sea, lush plants and local food. I can really understand where NARS colours are created…