How to be chic and French seems to be an endless obsession with women around the globe. Caroline De Maigret, a model, street-style icon and Lancôme's latest ambassadress has even co-written a book cheekily titled How to be Parisian Wherever you are: Love, Style and Bad Habits. Although she is not known for being overly made up — De Maigret famously dons undone hair, her signature bangs and typically wears just mascara and nude lippie — the palette truly encapsulates French charm. De Maigret really worked hard to capture the colours and textures that make up her everyday makeup wardrobe.
Dubbed Parisian Inspiration By Caroline De Maigret, the palette consists of four eyeshadows, an illuminator, three eyebrow powders and a blush as well as two double-ended applicator brushes. Here De Maigret shares her thoughts on working with Lancôme on the palette and the success of her book.
Tell us about this new collaboration with Lancôme — a makeup collection designed like a decorative object.
Yes, I really wanted to turn this makeup palette into a decorative object, an object that you're proud to leave out in the bathroom, have in your bag, that exists in and of itself, that you're not trying to hide. I even think that you actually want to show it off, draw attention to it, so I'm very happy with the result. I really put everything into it that I thought was indispensable in a woman's makeup palette. It has what you need to go work and to go out in the evening and feel sexier. It also contains the basics you'd want for the weekend. And I liked the idea of making it like a little notebook where you can write things down based on where you are, what you hear, etc. I'm very proud of this object. It's really the essence of a woman, and in this case, a Parisian woman. It's that little extra that you add to your personality to make you more beautiful.
It's a fall collection. Is that a season for which you have a certain affection?
Fall has a special quality. It's the end of summer, holidays, heat — which I love — family outings, the effervescence of children running around everywhere. It's full of promises and at the same time, it's a very gentle period because it's the end of summer, and the colours on the trees are totally magical, all the ochres and the browns. In my opinion, it's also a very stylish month, and that's why I really wanted to create a fall palette with Lancôme. These are the exact shades that I love and apply to my face all year. And also the textures that I love. I really wanted to develop products that you can apply with your fingers because that's how I put my makeup on.
Is texture very important for you in choosing a makeup product?
It's essential. I wanted to have relatively soft textures that glide on the skin. What's important for me is a have a certain amount of shine to erase that powdered look, which can age the skin, and add a light touch of shimmer — not too much to avoid looking overly made up — but enough to illuminate the face. We had to strike that delicate balance between pearl shades and pigments. That was a lot of fun because I was on a quest for that woman that I wanted to be — the one who really tries to take care of herself but without letting it show too much.
We hear Lancôme granted you access to its makeup laboratories...
Yes, it's actually the first time that I've had the opportunity to visit a makeup laboratory. I was fascinated by all the palettes of colours. It was like being in the middle of a sort of giant colour spectrum. I could play with the textures, pearl particles and oils. It was amazing to see how all those products that I apply to my face are developed. I was lucky enough to be surrounded by women — experienced scientists who gave me their full attention. It's an incredible luxury to be able to share things. We tried to adjust colours and textures to get exactly what I'd imagined in the essential palette of the Parisian woman.
What did you put in this box?
I put in a blush that can be applied either with the fingers or a brush. I apply it using my fingers and during the day, if I just want to freshen my complexion without anything particularly complicated, I can even use my blush as an eyeshadow. I can put it everywhere, even on my lips. It's very Parisian, so effortless chic. Looking good without overdoing it while feeling good about yourself. I like to do things quickly, but I also like to do things well! However, I'm not extremely good at applying makeup. I don't have that talent, or at least I've never taken the time to learn how to do my makeup well. For me, to be able to use the very organic technique of applying makeup with your fingers makes it easier. The point is also about having everything I need in a box that I can take anywhere. I love that idea!
The products that you've created now will be worn by other women. How do you feel about that idea?
I'm extremely moved and proud to share everything that I love in makeup and the little secrets that I've picked up over time. Those little secrets... there are several of them in the clutch that I've made with Lancôme. For example, the blush... it's a dream come true. It's really amazing.
What are your favourite new products from Lancôme?
I love the texture of Visionnaire Nuit Beauty Sleep Perfector. It's so effective, smoothing my skin and leaving it radiant when I wake up. In the morning, when I feel like treating myself, I apply Absolue l'Extrait Essence Ultime. It's my haute couture skincare. So rich and silky... it's the epitome of luxury!
What are your favourite makeup colours?
For my eyes, every shade of brown. I find it sexy but soft. It's less harsh than black, which I now reserve for evening looks, for both mascara and eyeliner, two products that I'm using more and more to emphasise my eyes. In terms of blush, I tend to favour palettes of pinks for the same reasons: darker colours age me. For a night out? If I'm just wearing mascara, I like to liven up my lips with a true red — the Caprice shade from the L'Absolu Rouge range
Your book came out just a few months ago and it's already a worldwide success. Were you and your co-writers expecting such an incredible reaction?
No! I have just signed off the 28th translation, which means it's now available in about thirty countries! It's huge and it's just crazy. We were expecting women to like it: when we first started writing, we sent the first fifty pages to various publishers in the US... and they all wanted it. That's when we realised we had something new. But we never thought it would win over so many countries.
The limited-edition palette retails for $110. Available from October at select Lancôme counters and stores